Joshua Ceballos/Assistant News Director
Student Government’s plan to bring Freebee, a free transport service, to FIU has fallen through the cracks and will no longer be implemented on campus.
Freebee is a service based in Miami that provides free transportation to customers who download the app within certain service areas. Freebee serves the areas of Coral Gables, Key Biscayne, Miami, Miami Beach, and Miami Lakes with its electric, “eco-friendly cars,” according to their website.
Freebee subsidizes these free rides with advertising revenue, marketing for local and national businesses on their cars, and thus transporting its clients without charging them directly.
SGC-MMC had an initiative as early as Fall 2017 to make FIU one of Freebee’s service areas and allow students on campus to travel around Sweetwater and Doral, according to SGC-MMC Vice President Jose Sirven.
“Another issue on campus is transportation, and what we’re trying to do is bring more access for students to get on and off campus easily,” Sirven said in an interview with Student Media back in the Fall. “This Freebee service would give students access to off-campus services.”
Freebee will not be coming to campus, however, due to the pricing of the service, according to Brenda Dome, assistant director of administrative services for the Department of Parking & Transportation.
Freebee, Dome said in an email to Student Media, is “not a financially sustainable model,” because there are not enough businesses in the immediate area of FIU to advertise and properly subsidize the service.
This service, according to Sirven, would be an asset to students who live on campus without a car, and who can’t afford to use Uber to get everywhere.
One such student, junior asian studies major Pedro Vanga, said he would have loved to have had a free transportation service like this, especially after a recent issue with his shoes.
“I have a yoga class, and I wear sandals every day. My sandals got taken by someone in my class the other day, so I had to borrow my roommates shoes,” said Vanga, wearing two different kinds of shoes at the time of the interview.
Vanga said that he had to spend the day barefoot after his sandals were stolen, and he had to get by with borrowed shoes until the weekend because he does not have a car in Miami, and he did not have the means to get to a shoe store during the week.
“If a service like Freebee was brought to campus, I would totally use it. I would go to Dolphin Mall to get shoes, restaurants off campus, and Arcade Odyssey,” said Vanga.
But, while Freebee is no longer an option for the University, FIU is in talks with the City of Sweetwater to enhance public transport on and off campus as part of the University City Prosperity Project, which you can read more about in an article by Giselle Cancio on PantherNOW.com.
Dome said that with this project, 9 additional vehicles will be added to the transit fleet, improving service to and from the Engineering Campus, Metrorail stations and to various locations in Sweetwater.
Feature Image is a screenshot from the FIU Business+Freebie video.