USC students create new airport ride-hailing app – Annenberg Media

USC students create new airport ride-hailing app – Annenberg Media

For USC students, getting back to campus from LAX can be frustrating. Three USC students have a solution. USC juniors James McColl, Toan Hyunh and Max Albright designed their first original app, “Shairport,” which was released on the App Store on Wednesday.

“We’d be at LAX ourselves and try to get a Lyft back, and sometimes it would cost $70 or $80,” McColl said. “We thought, what if we could implement an easy and safe way for USC students to find other USC students to share a ride to campus?”

To use the app, users must be near a LAX Lyft pick-up area (LAX-it) and sign in with their USC email address to ensure all riders are USC students only. According to the app’s Instagram account, a Lyft and Uber ride from LAX to USC costs $70. With Shairport, the founders hope to cut student costs in half.

While the app is still in its early stages, it seems that some USC students are already liking the idea of ​​a shared ride system for commuting back to campus.

“I definitely think it will be beneficial because Uber from LAX is sometimes very expensive,” said Iliyan Valani, a sophomore studying biology and data science. “Sometimes you can get away with a $30 Uber, and sometimes it’s $70 or $100.”

McColl, Hyunh, and Albright came up with the idea for the app in an introduction to software development course and recommended it for a project. The idea went from a track, to a website, and finally to an app you can download from the App Store.

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“We’ve noticed that people don’t want to go to websites and do that ticket,” Hunyh said. “We thought the website itself wasn’t the way to go, and we knew iOS was the way to go.”

McColl, Hyunh and Alright pitched the idea to Lyft to see if they were interested, and the three are currently discussing a possible partnership. They believe this could improve Lyft’s carpooling program, as it is guaranteed to pair with another USC student.

The transition from website to app also came with challenges, as the group originally built the website to help people get from campus to LAX. They soon learned that the demand was related to problems getting back to campus from the airport.

“We basically had to learn a whole new set of technologies and a bunch of languages,” Albright said. “But it was also much more rewarding because we learned a lot. It was a fun experience, but definitely not easy.”

Since safety is a top priority for the group, McColl, Hyunh and Albright are open to finding additional ways to ensure students don’t have to worry about potential safety issues.

“We will introduce additional measures in the next round of app rollouts,” McColl said. Whether it’s an additional support link to contact if something goes wrong with your ride, or if you’re paired with someone who doesn’t reach you or isn’t responding, you can easily create another ticket to find someone else to work with.”

USC students believe the app could provide a safer experience for students trying to travel back to campus.

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“I think the app is going to be really good,” said Athena Diamantidis, a computer science major. “It would probably help a lot of low-income people, and I think it would be good for safety.”

As the app continues to grow and gain traction, the founders hope to expand to include other Los Angeles colleges.

“We actually want to expand to other colleges in Los Angeles,” Hyunh said. “I know a lot of students travel to LAX from UCLA, LMU and other schools, so that’s the future for us.”

As more users access the app, McColl, Hyunh and Albright are looking for any feedback that will improve the experience for everyone.

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