USC signs long-term contract with Checker Yellow Cab
Free rides home from Five Points return this week.
Student Government’s Carolina Cab service, halted for six weeks due to state bidding processes, resumes Thursday at 10 p.m. from the Five Points fountain after the university agreed to a $242,500, five-year contract.
That means USC will pay Checker Yellow Cab — the same company which provided the cabs on a trial basis last semester — an average of $850 a night for the duration of the long-term contract. Previously, USC paid the company $250 a night. SG officials said they could spend an additional $58,000 not currently in the contract for extra cabs or extra hours, if demand rises over the next five years.
SG officials say the extra money will ensure more cabs are available for students. According to SG President Joe Wright, last semester students often complained of a long wait time. Two cabs were running at all times last semester. Now, two cabs will run from 10 until 11, three will run from 11 to 12 and five will run from midnight until 3 a.m., when the service stops.
“If students want it and it keeps students safe, you can’t put a price on students lives,” Wright said.
Wright said more students were interested in the cab than SG originally predicted. Getting the cab service for only $250 a night last semester was a good deal that probably lost Checker Yellow Cab money, student body treasurer Emily Supil said. Supil said this was a “very fair deal” for the university.
“The anticipation of how many people would use it is higher than what we expected at first,” Wright said. “So we had to increase the number of cabs.”
Carolina Cab is funded through $2 each student pays in the student activity fee. Those dollars originally went to the Cocky’s Caravan service, but that was later replaced by the cab service due to the bus’s low ridership.
The cab service, piloted by student government back in late March, takes students anywhere within five miles of the Five Points fountain. Those interested in taking the Carolina Cab home should show a Carolina ID to the Checker Yellow Cab employee near the fountain.
SG officials say students who enter the line after 3 a.m. won’t be offered a ride home.