I once spent an afternoon trying to help a friend come up with a plan for her daughter to rent a car when she landed, alone, in an airport in a big city. She didn’t want her to take a cab to her destination because she had misgivings about letting her young daughter get into a car, alone, with a strange man. My friend and her daughter had landed in the airport together in the past many times, and her daughter was comfortable in driving the route to her destination without getting lost, so they felt she’d be safer driving on her own. But, since she was not yet twenty-one years old, no rental car agency would allow her to drive one of their vehicles.
If she’d waited a while, a solution might have presented itself.
Starting next week, women in New York City will be able to request a female drivers through a new car service called SheTaxis-SheRides. Beginning September 16th, the service will take requests for rides via an app (available only through Apple’s iTunes store for now) where potential customers will be asked if there is a woman in their party. If there is not, they’ll be automatically redirected to other car services.
SheTaxis-SheRides was created by Stella Mateo, wife of Fernando Mateo the founder of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, which represents 30,000 taxi and livery drivers. She sees her company as helping women join a historically male-dominated industry and believes she could have used the service to help take her daughters to sports practice when they were growing up.
Similar services for women only are successfully offered by companies in other countries and plans to expand SheTaxis-SheRides into other U.S. cities are in the works. App-based ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft are already extremely successful throughout the nation and there’s probably room for drivers sporting hot pink pashmina scarves instead of big fuzzy mustaches.
Ultimately, my friend had a colleague pick her daughter up at the airport and she relied on rides from friends for the weekend. Next week, young ladies travelling alone to the Big Apple will have the option to choose drivers that are women.
Do you think SheTaxis-SheRides will be a successful venture?
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