TapRide shut down on Friday, Feb. 22, after a year and a half of service, leaving some drivers without a job and some students without a way to get around Milledgeville.
It all came down to money, said John Bowen, senior manager of Parking and Transportation. Although TapRide was charging between $5 and $8 for rides, revenues did not make it sustainable.
“We knew it would take a bit of time, but a year and a half into it, it still just wasn’t where it needed to be from a financially self-supporting perspective,” Bowen said.
Bowen expressed his disappointment for the program shutdown.
“We think it was a very innovative service that met students’ needs,” Bowen said.
Bowen is not the only one disappointed in the shutdown. Some members of the student body, specifically those living at West Campus, are upset.
“I would like to say that taking TapRide away, in my opinion, was not a good investment,” said sophomore Erin Thomas, a public health major. “Especially for the people who do go downtown at night. They have no other way to get home since the bus does not run late, SNAP cannot go to West [Campus] and their friends cannot come get them after a night out.”
TapRide drivers also lost their jobs.
“We let them know that if any of them need some help to let us know,” Bowen said. “A couple of them have reached out, and we’re going to try to work with them to put them on special projects or reassign them to other areas. But I know it’s tough for them.”
The cars that were assigned to the TapRide project are going to other assignments, such as parking enforcements, maintenanced and surplus.
When TapRide was created, Uber and Lyft were not available in Milledgeville. Now, however, there have been some signs of that changing. Those with Uber and Lyft apps will now see cars available to take them places in Milledgeville.
“So many students that live on West Campus or that don’t have a car relied on TapRide to get themselves around,” said sophomore Lexi Gottschalk, a marketing major. “I think the school needs to come up with a solution for the students like myself that used it so frequently.”
Parking and Transportation had the right idea with TapRide.
“Parking transportation is an auxiliary services unit and any services or endeavor of ours is entrepreneurial in nature and in order to run it, we would need to generate the revenue,” said Bowen.