Australia’s first women-only ride sharing service is set to arrive in Perth in early 2017, vowing to make women and young girls feel more comfortable about travelling with strangers, wataday writes. SheSafe will run similarly to Uber with a smartphone application from which passengers can select their destination, view different fares and choose the time they want to be picked up.
Emma Buchanan started SheSafe after friends expressed concerns about travelling with male drivers. The difference is, the drivers will be strictly women and the passengers will be women or boys under 12 years of age.
The service’s founder, Emma Buchanan, said SheSafe was not at all about being discriminatory, it was about the safety and concern of passengers. „Women and young girls shouldn’t have to feel scared about getting into a car and travelling,“ she said.
Mrs Buchanan came up with the idea for SheSafe after hearing complaints from friends expressing concerns about themselves and their teenage daughters getting into cars with male drivers.
In the past 12 months, nine men who drive Uber cars or taxis have been charged with assaulting female passengers in Australia.
In WA alone, Uber driver Zeljko Koncarevic was found guilty of indecently assaulting a female passenger as he drove down Canning Highway in February this year.
Perth taxi driver Simardeep Singh, 31, was jailed in August after pleading guilty to an incident in 2011 where he raped an 18-year-old female passenger and indecently assaulted another. „You only have to look up and get some statistics on all the assaults that have occurred from male drivers on female passengers and the numbers are absolutely staggering,“ Mrs Buchanan said, adding many assaults were unreported.
As per the service’s focus on safety, Mrs Buchanan said it was mandatory for drivers to go through rigorous background checks, provide a police check and working with children’s certificate, have their references checked and do a phone interview before they can be registered. She said SheSafe had hundreds of registrations from all the main Australian cities so far and was expecting many more. „There’s definitely a need there and it’s time for a change within the whole ride-sharing taxi industry,“ she said.
An Uber spokesman said the company always welcomed competition and choice for consumers and would continue to focus on delivering the best service possible to their customers.
Perth Taxi Group spokesman Athen Tsirigotis said taxi drivers for whom this was the primary source of income would likely be affected by such a service. „That said, if there is a demand for women-only ride sharing services and if there’s a demographic it can serve, then so be it,“ he added. SheSafe is being launched in Melbourne sometime in December and a Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth release is expected within the following months.