Extended wait times for e-ride caused by app malfunction, UNT says

Extended wait times for e-ride caused by app malfunction, UNT says

Extended wait times for e-ride caused by app malfunction, UNT says
April 25
12:25 2018

An issue with the algorithm for UNT’s e-ride app, which launched in spring 2018, is responsible for what students report are overly-long wait times, officials said.

UNT Transportation Services launched the e-ride on-demand system to create a safer and more convenient mode of transportation for students to get around campus after dark. However, some students have expressed issues with the service.

“What we’ve found when addressing these concerns is that there is a problem with the algorithm of the app that, in some instances, gives incorrect wait time information,” said Trista Moxley, senior communication transportation specialist. “The issue that we’re finding is that the algorithm on the app is not accounting for the correct number of seats available, so instead of showing empty seats and giving an accurate estimated wait time, the app is showing the e-ride as full and assuming that it will have to be empty before anyone else can be added.”

Moxley said the department is working with a third party to fix the algorithm issue.

E-ride runs between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday and from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday through Sunday. The number of cars running per night varies, but is generally one or two.

“The service was initially intended to be for students who had safety concerns, back when Transportation Services was part of the police department,” Moxley said. “Since then, it has evolved to become a service for students going to and from places that aren’t on the Mean Green Night Rider route.”

Communication studies freshman Simone Haight said she has called the e-ride service eight times but has only ridden five times due to long wait times or refusal from e-ride. E-ride does not offer services if the pickup location is on a UNT shuttle route that is functional at the time. 

“I’ve had several instances where I’m walking [back to my dorm] with friends at night, around 9 [p.m.] or so, or it will be pouring down rain and I’m at the opposite side of campus, and instant e-rides refuse to come to a bus route,” Haight said. “On weekends, in particular, the buses are spaced out up to 30 minutes until the next bus comes, so you either have to stand in the dark or rain or just walk instead.”

Haight said she does still plan to use the service on nights when she comes home late but hopes to see some change.

Moxley said Transportation Services is always looking to improve any problems that arise and has taken action to address the issues raised by students.

Business freshman Kylee Pape has been an e-ride driver for about six months and said she does not think some people fully understand what the service is.

“E-ride is a program that is meant to run supplementally to the bus service provided by DCTA,” Pape said. “E-ride is not an Uber, and it isn’t even paid for by tuition money. It’s a self-sustaining program with a few drivers a night to help out students. We cannot always guarantee fast service with how busy some nights get, but we can guarantee meaningful service.”

Pape said the wait times vary for every person, due to busier times of night and to students asking to be taken to more distant locations, such as Discovery Park.

“The app is new and we hope that students can bear with us as we make needed adjustments to ensure its accuracy in the future,” Moxley said.

Featured Image: E-ride is a service with UNT’s Transportation Services that promises to take calls from students to provide them rides from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on most weekdays. TJ Webb

About Author

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel

Sean Riedel has been a staff writer for the North Texas Daily since June 2017.

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1 Comment

  1. Anon
    Anon April 25, 16:59

    Great. When do they want to explain the fact that sometimes, even with a valid ride not on a UNT bus route, the app just abandons you after 1 hour and nobody answers the phone after calling four times? I’d love to hear that.

    Reply to this comment

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