Letter to the editor: Stop using Uber and Lyft in Columbia

I am a big believer that what affects one of us, affects us all. I have lost many loved ones in my lifetime, but you can never expect another person to be able to get over their pain of loss. I was very saddened by the loss Samantha Josephson also. I, like so many, have kids that will soon be in college. I worry the most about the young women on college and university campuses worldwide.

It's hard enough to get into a good school and stay in, and then you must contend with trying to keep yourself safe and protected from dangers seen and unseen.

If just one other person or bystander could have run off an opportunist like Nathaniel Rowland, who was out to do the unthinkable, one might have a chance at self-preservation,  which would have been better than no opportunity at all.

Then, perhaps within that slim instance, her life could have been saved.

This makes you wish you could turn back time and change the scenario. I wish I could. I think we all wish we could. We can only honor her memory and console her loved ones, family and friends and the like. As for my thoughts and opinions during this sad time, I am speaking for myself, not for USC or anyone else. I have my credential in newspaper journalism from USC.

As far as Uber and Lyft are concerned, I would cease using them if I was President Pastides.

I would cease using both services, and I don't care how much signage was in or on the car or even if they knew your name, rank and serial number! This never should have happened. I am not blaming these ride-share services, but I, many years ago, worked within the general public and at USC observing Uber and Lyft both day and night — especially during the weekends and during times of social activities in and around USC. I also saw the same thing with our next door neighbors in Atlanta, many of which I call near misses.

People getting into the wrong Uber or Lyft, or the driver volunteering to pick up the party in lieu of the proper vehicle being on the scene are both foolhardy and dangerous. Of course, it might seem nice, almost frivolous, when your ride does not get there in time and you opt to take another vehicle. Then you’re by yourself with a different driver and it may not even be a Lyft or an Uber driver.

My solution for President Pastides and the students and the like at USC at this time is to take a cab or taxi, be it Blue Ribbon, Checker Yellow or something similar.

They are highly regulated from my own personal experience, both in and out of state. These services have cameras, and in some instances, they have radio contact with a main dispatcher. They have many safety and security constraints, they are easy to identify day or night and they are company vehicles, not a privately owned vehicle, or the household car you drive everyday that could be a car that has your gun and the like in it.

I could go on and on for volumes to plead my case, but it's not going to bring back this wonderful young woman who was getting ready to graduate and start law school. Maybe what I have said, and her family, may prevent the loss of another.

— Anonymous, USC class of 1990 and former USAF Security Forces Security Police and 919th Special Operations 


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