Women-only rideshare services, beefed-up security and hand-held weapons were some of the things Illawarra women said would make them feel safer getting home after a night out.
Police are investigating after a man masquerading as an Uber driver assaulted several women over the weekend, and the Illawarra Mercury reached out to University of Wollongong students on Facebook.
A number of them said they had experienced harassment from a taxi or rideshare driver when trying to get home.
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One woman, who did not wish to be identified, said an Uber driver had regaled her with stories of local murderers who had stashed women's bodies in the boot of their car before she hastily left the vehicle.
"I used to always go home earlier than my friends," she said. "Now I'm too scared to get into an Uber alone."
A female security guard, who also wished to remain anonymous, said although security personnel's duty of care did not extend far beyond the venue, many were willing to act as an escort if required.
"I do take it as an extra step in my job to ask women how they are getting home, or if they're comfortable in a particular situation," she said.
"I've hung around past my shift to wait for a taxi with women who are on their own.
"I pay attention to body language and if I can see a woman is uncomfortable I'll keep an eye on her.
"I know how it feels to be out and have someone not leave you alone."
She said in order to be available to offer 'above-and-beyond services', such as an escort to the car, additional security staff needed to be available.
She said she understood women who felt the need to arm themselves, but explained it was almost always a bad idea.
"If it goes to court and you're defending yourself, it becomes very complicated if you have introduced a weapon," she said.
"There is also a risk the attacker might take control of the weapon and use it against you."
Wollongong chief inspector Angela Burnell confirmed detectives were investigating the allegations that a number of women were approached and encouraged any people with similar experiences to report the incidents to police.
Georgia Hazeldene took to social media to warn other women about her encounter with the man, who approached her an offered her a lift.
Ashy Rauicava got into what she thought was an Uber her friend ordered for her. When they reached her home, the driver said he wouldn't accept her card payment, and told her she could pay with sex.
"I was terrified, absolutely terrified," Ms Rauicava said.
Local rideshare driver Jason Shepherd said he was "infuriated" by people falsely presenting themselves as drivers.
"It does put the whole industry into disrepute," he said.
"I am disappointed with people putting down rideshare drivers as a whole.
"Uber has policies and procedures put in place to protect both drivers and passengers."
Mr Shepherd said the most important thing a passenger can do is confirm the registration details of the vehicle and the driver's name.
"A good driver should also confirm the passenger who booked the job," he said.
"Currently, all drivers should be displaying a Service NSW QR check in code.
"My advice is to sign in to every ride taken. That way, you as a passenger can be confident that the vehicle you a jumping into is a ride share vehicle."
Mr Shepherd said drivers were not allowed to "tout" - or offer rides unsolicited - and passengers should not get into the car of a person who approaches them in this way.
To become a driver, individuals must apply to Service NSW for a condition on their licence.
A police check is also conducted.
Wollongong City Council Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery urged residents to follow Uber protocols.
He said other ways to stay safe in the CBD were to stay in well-lit areas with plenty of other people around.
"Quite a few CCTV cameras are scattered around the CBD, especially in public spaces like the mall," he said.
"People tend to be more circumspect about their behaviour where they're likely to be seen. It's poor consolation in this circumstance, but it's the best we can do."
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