Many students see Spring Break as a week of spending all of the cash they have earned throughout the semester to relax and make memories. But for those on campus with cars, they have a different idea in mind.
Student drivers at Elon University have been providing rides to and from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Greensboro Piedmont Triad International Airport for other students during breaks.
Freshman Michael Koppinger started by giving other students rides for Thanksgiving Break and usually earns around $100 from the couple of trips he gives for each break, charging $20 a ride. Since he lives in Raleigh, he passes by the airport every trip home, so it’s convenient for him to drive students and earn some extra cash.
Koppinger sees convenience in this system of transportation for both himself and his riders.
“The beauty of getting a ride from the Facebook group is that you can procrastinate until the last minute before making plans,” Koppinger said. “I usually get the most messages asking if I have seats available in the two hours before I leave, and I just don’t think the university shuttle works that way.”
The Moseley Campus Center offers round-trip and single rides to the airports and back at the cost of $45 for the RDU airport and $35 for the GSO airport. It is recommended to purchase a ticket for time slots that get a student to the airport at least two-and-a-half hours before their scheduled departures. These tickets can be bought with a credit card and are non-refundable.
The BioBuses transport students who make reservations through the Moseley Campus Center each break. Seats must be reserved at least two-and-a-half weeks in advance. After this point, the remaining tickets for seats on the bus can be bought on a first-come, first-serve basis.
For all of the students who notice they can’t buy a ticket to the airport because the deadline passed on March 6, there are many other options to make their flight. The Uber app is a less-expensive alternative for finding a ride than taking a taxi.
According to Taxi Fare Finder’s estimates, the cost of taking a taxi from Elon to the RDU airport is around $150. An Uber ride is a much lower cost, ranging from $70 to $90. But these prices are still pretty steep for college students who need round-trip rides.
This is where student drivers play a role in offering cost-effective solutions.
Junior Madeleine Ker is thankful to have a car on campus because she usually had to resort to calling up a taxi before owning the car.
“I also like to carpool through my sorority where my sisters and I coordinate transportation to the airport,” Ker said. “I spend a lot less money than I would taking a taxi.”
Savvy student drivers at Elon noticed this high demand for transportation that led to desperate students needing rides for multiple days and times before and after breaks. Many student drivers post on Elon class Facebook pages to notify fellow students they are providing rides to and from airports.
The typical price that students charge for one-way rides is $20 for RDU and $15 for GSO. Many of the student drivers have the capacity to drive up to five other students, which can potentially help them earn $100 in cash for an hour drive. With this profitability, drivers can offset semester-long costs of car maintenance and gas.
And with the numerous students posting on class Facebook pages about giving rides, there are options for procrastinators to make it to their flight on time.
Sophomore Jordy Baende Eliko Etafe, who plans on making around $300 for Spring Break, has been providing rides since the beginning of the year and recommends it to any other student drivers on campus looking to make money and meet new people.
“I think this is much more affordable than the university shuttles, and I don’t think those will probably be used as much in the future,” Baende Eliko Etafe said.