Local Uber driver goes to bat for UL students

Uber driver Travis DeYoung in front of Cajun Field.
(Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE, THE ADVERTISER)
Uber driver Travis DeYoung in front of Cajun Field. (Photo: SCOTT CLAUSE, THE ADVERTISER)

LAFAYETTE, La. (The Daily Advertiser) – Travis DeYoung of Lafayette has made quite a name for himself as one of Louisiana’s most fascinating Uber drivers.

He’s been shuttling people around Acadiana and far beyond for just over a year, and to him, the experiences are priceless.

“My location is great,” he says. “I meet a lot of oil guys, and they love me. I also get a lot of college students. Most are young girls that want to feel safe, and I like providing that. I get a lot of the blind community, too. They love Uber, and the disability app works well for them.”

DeYoung is very popular around UL, as dozens of students find themselves inside his vehicle after long nights of letting loose.

A few weeks ago, DeYoung noticed something near campus.

“Students (or someone) put a  bench across the street from the abandoned ‘Linebackers’ place,” he explains.  “They placed it by the sidewalk of the University and kids would sit there and hang out. It quickly became a hot spot. There was literally always students sitting there. From midday, to midnight. Kids were always sitting at the bench. Well, about a week and a half ago, the ULL Student Housing department removed the bench. Although the bench was gone, students continued to sit in that same area, this time on the sidewalk (it was more comfortable) and closer to the street (more dangerous).  After a few days, I noticed another bench pop up in the same exact spot. This time it was a wooden picnic table rather than the steel bench that was initially put there. Students again were sitting at the new bench at all hours of day and night. Two days later, it was gone.”

The bench was removed by the Housing Department again.

“On Nov. 2, after seeing students sit closer and closer to the road without a bench, I decided to call the Housing Department and speak with the head to understand what is going on. If they need a proper bench, I will build one and donate it to the University for the students.”

A representative from the Housing Department told DeYoung that the bench was removed for several reasons: it was unapproved by the University,  causing a safety concern; the bench condones alcohol consumption and tobacco smoking, both forbidden on campus; and the bench was too close to the road, creating a hazard.

“My point to him was, representing all these students, that they want to be there. They enjoy the scenery and being away from the University. My argument was that, at the end of the day, it’s safer to have the bench there, than not. It’s not just one group of students, or this could be easily fixed. It’s actually the whole student body staying in the dorms. There has to be a solution. Every student that I have Uber’ed says that they love the bench being in that specific location and that students are going to sit there regardless.”

DeYoung filmed a video of the area in question and spoke to students about the area’s popularity. He’s awaiting a response from the University.

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