Whether it’s Uber, Lyft, or some other ride sharing service, women riders, and even drivers, can’t always feel safe when they get in a car with a man they’ve never met – and for good reason. Buzzfeed recently revealed that there have been thousands of complaints against Uber drivers involving rape and sexual assault. Though it may not be widely publicized, the issue of women’s safety in the ride sharing industry is very real. Enter Chariot for Women, the first service to provide a ride sharing service exclusively to women.
The brainchild of Uber driver Michael Pelletz, Chariot for Women takes several precautions to ensure that its customers can catch a ride without ever having to worry about their own personal safety. For starters, the service only employs women drivers (4,000 have applied in the last three days alone) – a decision that Pelletz supports by saying “Women are across the world the ones being harassed and assaulted by male drivers. In my 8 months as an Uber driver, I didn’t hear any negative feedback from men.”
Another precautionary measure that Chariot for Women takes is that it provides both drivers and clients with a matching code for every ride. Upon the driver’s arrival, both parties make sure that their codes match before the passenger gets in the car. The most important safety parameter put in place however, happens before drivers ever get the job. Chariot for Women uses Safer Places, a service known for performing very thorough background checks – an area where Uber has been accused of being too lax.
With an initial launch in Boston set for the near future (the original April 19 launch date has been pushed back), Chariots for Women’s service will also extend to anyone who identifies as a women, as well as kids under the age of 13 regardless of gender. “If they’re trans and identify as a woman, they can drive and ride with us, no problem at all,” Pelletz said.
In addition to the safety factor, riders may also find some financial and moral benefits to using Chariots for Women. The ride sharing service does not use surge pricing and they also donate 2% of every fare to charity. And though excluding men could bring Chariots some legal turmoil in the immediate future, its founder shows no signs of changing his vision for the company. “We look forward to legal challenges,” explained Pelletz. “We want to show there’s inequality in safety in our industry. We hope to go to the US Supreme Court to say that if there’s safety involved, there’s nothing wrong with providing a service for women.”
If Chariot for Women and more ventures like it prove successful (and legal) in the long run, Uber will undoubtedly be forced to take measures to lessen its reputation for risky business. For now though, the ride sharing giant and its competitors would be wise to bless Boston with the kind of price cuts that Uber made in New York City a few months back.
Chariot for Women
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Source: The Stashed