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Uber rolls out feature urging riders to ‘check your ride’

UPDATED: Thu., April 18, 2019

This Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo shows the Uber app on a phone in New York. (Richard Drew / associated press)
This Tuesday, June 12, 2018 photo shows the Uber app on a phone in New York. (Richard Drew / associated press)
By Cathy Bussewitz Associated Press

NEW YORK – Uber is releasing a new feature to help riders ensure they’re getting into the right vehicles.

The development comes several weeks after a University of South Carolina student was killed after getting into a car she had mistaken for the Uber ride she hailed.

Uber said Thursday it would send a push notification to riders reminding them to check the driver and vehicle. The push alert will include the driver’s name, photo, license plate number and vehicle make and model.

The ride-hailing giant is rolling out the feature first in Columbia, South Carolina, and later nationwide.

Samantha Josephson, 21, was almost finished with college when she went out with friends in Columbia’s bar district. She became separated from the group and ordered an Uber to take her home about 1:30 a.m. March 29, authorities said.

The driver of the car she mistakenly got into had activated the child safety locks in the backseat, trapping her in the car, authorities said.

“We don’t want this to be something you forget, but we also don’t want it to be something that ends in sorrow, but something that ends in education,” Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, said in an interview.

Pastides has mistakenly gotten into the wrong Uber himself, and believes the new push notification will save lives, he said.

Uber is also sending emails to every rider to outline the steps to make sure they’re getting into the right car.

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