Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Eliza Radeka at Eliza.Radeka@colorado.edu.
A small crowd of students gathered outside the University of Colorado’s Center for Community on Aug. 19, around 11:30 p.m. Although university buses were expected to be running until past 2:00 a.m., the CU Bus Tracker app reported that no buses were on the route at the time. The next best option? CU NightRide.
NightRide’s answering machine revealed that it would not be picking up students until the official start of the fall semester, Aug 22. Cue the complaints.
“I thought [CU NightRide] would be open,” said Alexis Parker, a sophomore at CU-Boulder. “Now we have to walk home.”
While some students decided to wait a little longer for the Buff Bus, others like Parker and her friends eventually called various ride services such as Uber and Lyft, but were disappointed in resorting to those other options.
The various students that attempted to call NightRide during the weekend were not the only ones to express annoyance.
Haley Takahashi, a Resident Advisor in Libby Hall, was unhappy to learn of the closure, especially since she, like other RAs, informed her new residents of NightRide’s services during a post-move-in meeting and put up fliers on her resource board that included the phone number and academic year hours of service.
“I had no clue that it was closed the first weekend and in my opinion that was a horrible decision,” Takahashi said. “Luckily all my girls made it through the weekend without needing NightRide.”
Despite the confusion over NightRide’s hours, Interim Director of the University Memorial Center Andrea Zelinko said hours and closure updates are clearly posted on the NightRide website and Facebook page, as well as on digital signs in the residence halls.
With regard to the most recent closure, Zelinko says that the lapse in service was merely due to a shift between summer and fall hours — NightRide underwent a similar closure last year. The last day of summer hours this year was Aug. 18, and the first day for the fall semester was Aug. 22. She said that NightRide operates when classes are in session and the UMC is open, and described the many positive features of the service.
One of the benefits to using NightRide instead of Uber or Lyft is the knowledge that every driver is a student, and has gone through the university hiring process.
“This means students are at the heart and soul of the operation,” Zelinko said.
NightRide is free, and hours run late enough into the night to ensure that students have time to schedule a ride home. Nightride runs until 12:15 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 1:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Rides start at 7 p.m. in September, but that varies by month.
CU Nightride is up and running for the duration of the semester. For CU’s late night bus lines, the RTD HOP, Buff Bus and other university bus schedules, check the CU Bus Tracker app (Apple and Android) or the Boulder Bus Tracker.