Uber, USC team up on nationwide campus safety initiative

The "Check Your Ride" feature on Uber began to be active in Columbia Thursday

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — Uber is putting the University of South Carolina at the forefront of its new campus safety initiative.

After President Harris Pastides’s “What’s My Name?” movement picked up steam nationwide, Uber rolled out some changes through a partnership with colleges across the country to remind students of essential safety tips.

“We also added a new ‘Check Your Ride’ reminder in the app starting from the moment you get matched with the driver until the moment you start your trip that reminds to double check the details before starting a trip,” said Andrew MacDonald, the Vice President of Americas Operations and Global Business Development at Uber.

The new initiative comes weeks after Samantha Josephson tragically lost her life back on March 29.

USC President Harris Pastides says his students have been more diligent about rideshare safety.

“I’ve never seen the campus respond so quickly, so forcefully, so sadly, but so angrily as to what happened to Samantha. We knew we had to do something,” said Pastides. 

Uber announced a partnership with universities, local law enforcement, and entertainment districts to educate people, especially students, about the importance of making sure they get in the ride car when they request a ride home.

The “Check Your Ride” feature on the app gives riders a checklist to make sure the car they enter matches the description of the driver on their app. If requested, it also allows riders to give law enforcement their real-time location through Uber if they are in an emergency situation.

After watching Uber representatives demonstrate how the new safety features work, several USC students say they love having the new safety features since it gives them peace of mind when requesting a ride and getting home safely.”

“Being able to see this, students are excited to know there are safety precautions that are being taken and there’s change that’s being made,” said Luke Rankin, the Student Body President at USC.

Now with safety at their fingertips, President Pastides says the impact of Uber’s initiative goes far beyond Columbia.

“I spoke to Mr. Josephson yesterday and I can tell you that knowing lives will be saved as a result of his daughter’s life being taken is extremely validating and important to them. It’s like lighting a match at a vigil and by the time you look around, there are a thousand candles have been lit. That’s what this feels like to me,” Pastides said.

The new safety features launched in Columbia today, and will be rolled out to other cities in the next few days.

Uber also announced their plan to guide rideshare passengers to the designated Five Points pickup zone along 2100 Santee Street through the app in the coming days.

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