Would You Use A 'Female-Only Uber' Service?
The Debrief: Would you feel safer if it was always a woman driving you home from a night out?
Does a 'female-only Uber' service appeal? We ask because it could be a thing - soon. Female-only mini cab app Chariot is being tested in Boston as of next week. Supposedly 'driving women towards empowerment and safety,’ founder Michael Pelletz told The Washington Post that he ‘was made to take care of women, to love them, respect them…I was meant to do this.’
That’s all very well, if not slightly patronising (thanks for your ‘care,’ but us women are perfectly capable of taking care of ourselves, mate), but is this whole thing even legal?
The company’s ethos is 'driven by women. Exclusively for women', and the whole idea potentially stems from reports that Uber has received thousands of claims of rape and sexual assault from passengers. But Chariot is already in the deep end for legal reasons, and could be challenged in court for doing the one thing it’s set out to do – only hire female drivers.
Founder Pelletz got the idea for his company when working 17 hour days at Uber after being diagnosed with a brain tumor in September 2013. Experiencing the stories of his passengers and hearing shocking tales about how women were hit on all the time compelled him to take action. He talks about ‘The Big Idea’ on the Chariot website, stating: ‘just one bad apple behind the wheel, and those women would not be safe at all.’
According to the website, the app is ‘built for safety.’ Every driver has to answer random security questions before driving to ensure her identity and a safe word system is used to prove you’ve got in the right drivers car. It seems like a simple but effective security system, that would undoubtedly make you feel 100 x safer stepping into a strangers car. According to USA Today, over 1, 000 women have already signed up to drive for Chariot, so it’s already looking popular.
It’s a great idea, for a great reason and we are all for keeping women safe when out and about - but the company is already facing discrimination charges before it’s even open - so time will tell if Chariot becomes a thing in the UK.
And as a side note, we're not sure how we feel about Chariot's marketing spiel. We get it, you want to look after women and that's fantastic, but we don’t need a sob story about you wanting to 'take care' of us. We just want safer ways to get home from a night out, plsthanks.
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