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Students hail prepaid card taxi system

Steve Brown / Lantern photographer

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Without cash in your wallet, it can be next to impossible to get a taxi ride home from the library, a friend’s house, or the bars, but Buck R-I-D-E, a new service from University Cab Cash looks to change that by accepting a prepaid card.

Jason Willoughby, president of University Cab Cash, started the service at Florida State University in 2007, where he offered parents and students the opportunity to create isolated funds for transportation.

“There was a need for prepaid transportation so students could have a safe ride home,” Willoughby said.

University Cab Cash quickly spread to nine schools in Florida, including the University of Miami, the University of Central Florida and Florida Atlantic University.

The Buck R-I-D-E system will allow OSU students to call the University Cab Cash hotline to schedule a pickup. After this, a taxi from the Yellow Cab of Columbus will pick up students from their location and drop them off almost anywhere, from the library, to their home or even the bars.

University Cab Cash gave members of the Undergraduate Student Government an opportunity to test out the Buck R-I-D-E services.

Emily DeDonato, USG vice president, was one of several USG members who received a $20 prepaid card and was able to use the cab service.

“We used it to get to the Arena District for a friend’s birthday,” DeDonato said. “It was easy to get a cab on a busy night.”

DeDonato said she usually does not carry cash on her, and the new service made it that much more convenient to get a taxi.

“My parents can make sure I have a safe ride home,” DeDonato said.

Since parents can add money onto the card through the University Cab Cash website, Willoughby said they can be sure their kids have money for a taxi when they need one.

“Parents love the service and are quick to get a card for their students when they hear about it,” Willoughby said.

Following the high number of off-campus crime alerts sent out to OSU students last quarter, Willoughby said he felt the prepaid taxi service could be useful to students in the OSU community.

“We are really trying to get our concept out to OSU,” Willoughby said. “It’s a perfect time to help keep everyone safe.”

Megan Maurer, a second-year in food business management, said she has friends who have had to call hours in advance for an escort from Student Safety Services. She said the speed of Buck R-I-D-E is more appealing to her.

“If you need a ride immediately, it could be really helpful,” Maurer said.

Representatives from Yellow Cab of Columbus were unavailable for comment.

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