Students, rideshare drivers want a clearer Five Points pick-up zone
Some say they don't even know where the current pick-up area is located
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) —It’s been three months since the Samantha Josephson Ridesharing Safety Act went in the books here in South Carolina.
The law, which Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) signed into law in May, requires rideshare drivers to have their license plate number in the front of their vehicle. The law, which was named after a USC student who was killed after she mistakenly got into a car she thought was an Uber back in March, also establishes misdemeanor offenses for those posing as rideshare drivers.
Ever since the “What’s my Name?” movement picked up steam at USC, several students said they’ve been more diligent in asking their driver what their name is before getting in the car, especially at Five Points.
However, some students and rideshare drivers are unclear as to where the pick-up zone in Five Points is located.
Lots of people request rides from Uber and Lyft here in Five Points each day, but even though they are more aware of asking the driver their name and looking for the license plate, some just simply don’t know where to go.
Some students told ABC Columbia that they are aware a pick-up zone exists, but they just don’t know where it is.
Even some drivers are not clued in to where to go pick up customers.
“The problem I’m having with Uber and Lyft at night, especially in Five Points, I don’t even know where the pick-up area is. You know we don’t get any information even if it shined in the news in the morning, we can’t find it. It’s an issue because if we can’t find it, we’ll get a ticket,” said Lonnie Lowe, an Uber and Lyft driver.
Some Uber drivers say they get could get a fine for leaving their illuminated Uber/Lyft lights on while driving, not having a license plate visible in the front of their car, and for picking someone in an area away from the designated pick-up zone in Five Points.
Columbia Police says the designated pick-up zone in Five Points is at the 2100 block of Santee Avenue, right next to Home Team BBQ.
“The problem is the college students, I don’t think, got that memo because they still text you with what bar they’re at, instead of going to the safe Uber line and waiting for someone there,” said Tami Tabor, an Uber driver.
Representative Seth Rose (D-Richland County), who authored the Ridesharing Safety Act, says the Department of Transportation is working on a study to make Five Points safer for pedestrians and drivers alike.
“As we do that and develop some type of plan for it, we can also incorporate in there a rideshare pick-up point, and so that could be designated by ordinance from local government saying this is where you must be in Five Points and people can know where to go to get a rideshare,” Rep. Rose said.
Some think a clearer pick-up area will work wonders for traffic flow in areas like Five Points and around Williams-Brice Stadium.
“If we can direct our area to a certain spot where we can keep the traffic moving with flow, and everybody, when they sign up for the pick-up area is in the pick-up area, we should have no problems at all,” said Lowe.
Rose says that he plans on adding a provision to the Rideshare Safety Bill that would require additional background checks for all rideshare drivers.