Uber is partnering with universities throughout the country to launch a national effort to help students learn how to safely use #ridesharing services. In addition to campuses designating pickup zones for riders, both Uber and Lyft have instituted new safety features on their ridesharing app and user policies. The initiative was inspired by the death of Samantha Josephson, a student who was kidnapped and murdered in March after getting into a vehicle that she believed to be her Uber ride. The man charged with that horrendous crime was not affiliated with Uber. Her death has raised awareness of safety concerns when people use ride-hailing services.
The “What’s My Name” campaign was launched in partnership with Josephson’s alma mater, the University of South Carolina. Ride services provide the rider’s name to the driver while also providing the driver’s name and license plate number to the rider. Uber also features a push notification system to its app that will remind riders of the “Check Your Ride” steps just before their car arrives. The steps alert riders of the ways to make sure they are getting into the right car with the right driver by matching the license plate, make, model and color of the vehicle, and the driver’s name and photo to the details in the app.
Also being piloted at the University of South Carolina is a rides voucher program being developed by Uber to provide discounted services for students at times when other transportation options are limited or not available. The ride-sharing giant has also teamed up with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators to invest $100,000 in a partnership to educate college students about safety and “Check Your Ride” tips.