COLUMBIA, S.C. — After graduating from USC, a Columbia man started his own local ride share business for college students. What started as a way to make his peers feel safe getting around town, has now grown into a trusted business among students.
Marquis Webb began driving his peers following the death of USC student Samantha Josephson.
Two and a half years ago, the USC community was rocked by the kidnapping and murder of Josephson.
Webb recalled that, "around that time, a lot of people were really scared, mostly women, were really scared to take Ubers, so once they found out that I was a driver and I went to school with them, there was a level of comfort that I provided.”
According to police, Josephson thought she was getting into the car she ordered from a rideshare app, but instead got in a stranger’s car and was later murdered.
"It really hurt the community and the bars, and it just frightened a lot of the students because it could’ve been anybody," said Webb. "So, I just wanted to place my print and try to prevent this from happening again.”
Webb, a student at the time, drove for a rideshare app, and started giving out his number so his peers could call him for rides.
Webb said he built a trustworthy reputation with clients and got so busy with driving, that his friends encouraged him to start his own business.
Webb explained, "I felt like God was showing me this was my calling.”
After graduating in May 2020, he created Kola Kruze: a local rideshare service made for students, by a student.
Ally Romeo, a junior at USC and the chapter president of her sorority, told News19 she feels safest getting around town with Kola Kruze.
"With him building a relationship with his clients, they trust him and they’re gonna share that with other people, and trust is such a big thing when you’re getting in a car with someone you don’t know,” said Romeo.
Webb now has two drivers under him, that he said went through background checks and are also college students. All cars are marked, drivers wear the company logo and a dash camera records inside and in front of the car.
For Webb, driving started as a way to help his peers get through a tough time.
“That’s really why I started it, not about the money but just making sure people get home,” said Webb.
And now, he has a successful, small business that strives to put safety first.
Students looking to book a ride with Kola Kruze can do so on their Instagram page. Or they can text 803-626-4925.