Seat Belts Mandatory in All Motor Vehicles
Beginning November 1, 2020, all New York residents and visitors over the age of eight will be required to wear seat belts in the front and back seats of all motor vehicles, including for-hire vehicles like Via. Under the law, both you and your driver may be subject to fines if you do not buckle up.
Physical Distancing Policy in Place
Due to the current NYC mandate banning shared rides, all rides in the service will be limited to one rider per vehicle among other safety measures. Via and Columbia Public Safety will monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation and adjust policy accordingly.
How it Works
Columbia Transportation has partnered with Public Safety and Via to provide on-demand transportation service as an alternative to walking alone at night. Using the Via app is the easiest and most effective way to get a ride, but if you cannot use the Via app, you can also call for a ride. Whether you use the Via app or call, you will need to get a promo code before you request your first ride. Please follow the instructions below.
Before you request your first ride with Via, you will need to have downloaded the Via app, created an account, and applied a unique Evening Shuttle promo code. For first-time users, here is a step by step guide to getting set up and using Via.
Download the Via rider app from the App Store (Apple) or Google Play Store:
Create a Via account using your name, email, and phone number.
Enter the phone verification code sent to your phone number.
The Via app will ask you to enter billing information to set up your account. The Evening Shuttle is a free service and you will not be billed for qualifying rides unless you choose to tip the driver, or you select one of Via's commercial rides. Via also accepts debit cards as a billing method although it is not indicated in the app.
If you do not have a credit or debit card, or you do not want to enter your credit card information, you can click "Skip" at the top right corner of the screen. This will allow you to book the free Columbia Shuttle rides without a credit card (however, you will need to enter credit card information to book Via paid commercial rides).
Redeem your unique promo code provided by Columbia at the bottom of the Add Billing screen and tap done.
You can also enter your Columbia promo code at any time after creating your Via account by selecting the Promo Codes section in the app's main menu.
- Pick-Up location: Choose your pick-up location and tap "confirm my location." Your pick-up location must be within the coverage area to qualify for a free Evening Shuttle ride.
- Drop-Off location: Choose your drop-off location and tap "set my destination." Your pick-up location must be within the coverage area to qualify for a free Evening Shuttle ride.
- Number of passengers: Riders can only book a ride for themselves. If you are traveling in a group, each rider needs to request a ride separately. Note: if you do request a ride for more than one rider in the Via app, you will not be offered a free Columbia Evening Shuttle ride.
- Confirm your trip: Find your pickup location, ETA, vehicle and driver details in the app.
- Accept* proposal: Select the free Columbia University Evening Shuttle proposal and tap "book this ride."
- Connect with the driver: If you have any issues finding your vehicle, you can call the driver directly from the Via app. The driver may also reach out directly to you to coordinate. In any case, your phone number will not be visible to the driver.
- When the car arrives, verify the vehicle model, plate number, and driver photo.
- Show your Columbia ID to the driver before boarding the vehicle. This is to ensure the safety of both the driver and the other passenger(s) in the car.
*NOTE: The free Evening Shuttle option will only appear in the Via app during operating hours and for rides within the coverage area. If you select a ride outside the operating hours and/or with a pick-up or drop-off outside of the coverage area or with more than one passenger, only paid Via commercial rides will be offered through the app.
Requesting a Ride Without a Smartphone
Using the Via app is the fastest way to get a ride. However, if you don't have a smartphone, you can call Via at 646-692-0576. A dispatcher will respond as quickly as possible, but due to call volume, it may take a few minutes to receive a response. The dispatcher will ask you for your unique promo code, location, and destination. The dispatcher will give you an estimated time of arrival, vehicle information, license plate number, and driver information.
Need help or have questions?
- Please read through the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) before calling.
- During business hours, contact Columbia Transportation at 212-854-3382.
- After hours, use the Public Safety non-emergency line at 212-854-SAFE (7233).
- If you experience any technical or service-related issues during service hours, you can contact Via’s Customer Service Hotline 646-692-0576.
Regulations & Policies
The Evening Shuttle will only perform pick-ups and drop-offs within the coverage area. There are also regulations and etiquette that pertain to riding the Evening Shuttle. Riders agree to these policies when they request a ride. The University and its partner Via can deny a ride to anyone who does not honor these policies.