With a quick swipe of an Emerson ID, EC Cash can be used as payment for food, laundry, and printing homework. EC Cash can also be used to pay for taxi rides, a new feature that went into effect in October.
Before taxi cab companies accepted ECCash in October, the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) issued paper vouchers for students who wanted to pay using an Emerson ID instead of through a bank account.
Students can present the paper vouchers to the taxi driver at the end of the ride, and the driver will write down the required amount. The voucher would then be taken back to the ECPD for payment.
Although the ECPD will still provide paper vouchers for students, Emerson College Police Chief Robert Smith thinks the ‘quick swipe’ is a good idea for students.
“EC Cash is a little easier, and you would probably get quicker service using your ID card than with paper vouchers, because only one taxi cab company accepts them,” he said.
Boston Cab, Metro Cab, 617 Cabs, and ITOA Taxi all accept EC Cash as payment, according to the Emerson College website.
To use the card, hit the “Student ID” option button from the touchscreen payment service in the cab, and select the college from a dropdown menu. Then pay for the fare like you would a regular credit card.
Freshman journalism major Tatiana Ochoa said she hadn’t known about the new service, but wishes she had.
“I had no idea,” she said. “It sounds like it would be useful, though.”
Ochoa said she doesn’t remember getting an email about the service.
“They need to announce it more to students,” she said. “Even though they did send out an email, I think some people would just disregard it.”
Though some students said there hasn’t been enough advertising about using EC Cash, Smith said he has seen a dramatic decline in students using paper vouchers since the new method of payment became available.
“I think a lot of students know,” he said. “Spring semester last year, we gave out 134 paper vouchers. This spring semester, we’ve only given out nine.”
But because some students still ask for paper vouchers, Smith said the ECPD will still provide them for whomever prefers to use them.
Assistant Director of Business Services Thomas Doyle said just over 300 students have used EC Cash to pay for cab rides since October.
“There have been approximately 322 students who have used the service,” Doyle said.
Doyle said he couldn’t think of any other ways to get the word out.
“I don’t know what else we could do, besides maybe put something on the message boards,” he said. “Other than that, it seems like the word is out there, and word of mouth around campus usually spreads pretty fast.”
Freshman political communication major Hannah Woolley said while paying with EC Cash is helpful, there should be more advertising about the service.
“The only way I really heard about it was through the email [Emerson] sent out [in October], and I know a bunch of people who just delete emails that don’t have a crucial subject line,” Woolley said. “It just came and went really quickly and wasn’t really broadcasted.”
Despite this, Woolley said she does think using EC Cash for taxi rides is convenient.
“It’s nice because it doesn’t feel like you’re using real money. It feels just like I’m getting something at the Max or at EmCafe,” she said. “It’s just a quick swipe, and you aren’t thinking ‘Oh God, there goes my cash.’”