Don’t call Uber, we’re six blocks away

Gabe Darley, Contributing Writer

To live in a world where cars are not only on-call but on-tap is an amazing thing. It is a feat driven by the human desire to simplify life and — at times — it’s truly glorious. And yet sometimes it seems that the cost of an Uber is completely forgotten in the face of its convenience.

When friend groups pitch weekend plans, likely the first questions are about transportation. Immediate replies of “we’re Uber-ing” may repel and isolate interested parties. Whether it is a financial or moral position, students who don’t or can’t Uber run the risk of being labeled as picky or stand-offish, or even alienating their friends.

Sure, the environmental concern is important. Why Uber when you can walk? Less fuel used, less contribution to global emissions, less of a personal carbon footprint. That matters. But for some students, this isn’t the only reason the issue is particularly important.

Using Uber on a college campus is a financial stance. Like any other service, it has a cost and a benefit. Very frequently, it’s the best option. When going to the airport or — God forbid — attending a roommate’s creepy date party downtown, walking obviously isn’t going to cut it. The cost is, in those instances, totally worth it. However, these aren’t weekly occurrences, and students here are much more likely to find themselves in a group calling an Uber to an address two blocks off of St. Charles or a karaoke bar on South Carrollton. This is absolutely horrifying. 

Uber acts as a gate. Though there isn’t any official code, the understanding is always that the cost of the ride will be split, a fair condition, meaning that only those who can afford that cost can get in. Pricing is never insanely expensive due to being split four ways, so who would bat an eye, right? For those on a budget, however, the price is not always so insignificant. It can feel especially cruel knowing that the Mighty Uber-Orderer is using a parent’s credit card with their account. A Venmo request in this instance can be excruciating to fulfill.

The truth is, this is yet another cost to throw on to the already egregious “socializing budget” which Tulane students maintain. It takes money to be “fun.” Between the Door-Dashes and movie rentals and numerous, God-awful brunches, the expense of a ride-hailing service to an address six blocks from campus can feel insurmountable. Being social at Tulane is already expensive — ordering a car isn’t always a possibility.  

Everyone slips sometimes; no one can claim to be a perfect person. It’s easy to get worn down and pay the dreaded $10 both ways to go take pictures and uphold the image of a fabulous party lifestyle. It’s especially hard to pass up when surrounded by people who do it thoughtlessly and often. The wealth disparity at Tulane has been widely observed by students, but it seems friends struggle to remember that Tulane isn’t a monolith. 

The pressure to get in the car is an unfailing one. But if the thought of paying for a quarter of a ride — plus tip — to the Camellia Grill for a $10 omelet also makes you break out in a cold sweat. Take heart and suggest a walk. Those around you may feel the same.

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