If you are a woman, you know the feeling. You try to find a taxi in New York City late at night and some scary looking driver shows up. The whole time you are thinking whether you’ll make it to your destination safe and sound.
A new app solves the dilemma many women commuting alone in the Big Apple face each and every day. Whether you are a tourist or work in the city, chances are you’ve had to grab that taxi after the sun goes down. If you feel more comfortable using a service where the driver is a woman, we introduce SheTaxis — or SheRides in NYC.
As a woman, walking around a big city always comes with a certain risk, and getting into a cab, especially after having a little too much to drink, could be downright dangerous. Wouldn’t it make you feel better to know you can call a taxi service specifically geared towards women?
The brand new service became operational on October 29 in NYC, Westchester County, and Long Island. It has cleared possible legal ramifications to service about 300 female customers, matching them to a specific driver they request through the app.
After only a few weeks in business, SheRides has garnered a loyal following of women looking for taxi rides in the big city. Now the challenge may be to find enough female cab drivers in an industry dominated by men, according to a report in the New York Times.
For Lorena Cantillo — a 31-year-old NYC resident who works as a make-up artist — the taxi service has been a godsend, and she has already used it three times. The young woman feels so comfortable with her female drivers that she even changed clothes in the back seat of the cab, which she wouldn’t have dreamed of with a male driver.
“There are times when I don’t want to get in a taxi because I’m alone and the man can be intimidating, especially if it’s nighttime and I’ve had too much to drink. This is definitely going to be my go-to service.”
Cantillo’s sentiment will probably be echoed by millions of women who use taxis in NYC on a daily basis. But this innovative service hasn’t come without controversy and accusations of discrimination against men.
According to Stella Mateo, the app founder, SheRides is a taxi service for women by women. After complaints surfaced, NYC officials have stated that the service itself is seemingly legal, however, it would be illegal for a cab driver to deny a ride base on gender.
The spokeswoman for the company, Tamika D. Mallory, stated that a driver can pick up a passenger from any gender, and anyone can use the app.
“SheTaxis’s goal is to serve as many women as we can,” she said, adding that more than three-quarters of their passengers have been female.
Originally slated to become operational in September, SheRides initially had problems recruiting and training female drivers due to the influx in business, as there were not enough female drivers. The company is currently helping women to become licensed taxi drivers.
This new service not only puts female taxi passengers at ease. Women drivers also have safety concerns in NYC, and Martha Pitterson, 48, — who has been driving since 1990 — also prefers to pick up women. During a four-hour window, she got four calls from ladies and picked up all of them.
Pitterson also enjoys the conversations she can have with women, who most of the times open up about their lives and problems.
“I bet you, if it had been a man, they would have stayed quiet. I’ve had a lot of confessions, all from women. I could write a book about it.”
Even though Pitterson says she has never been attacked, she says she definitely feels safer driving women around.
Would you use this new app to get a woman taxi driver in a big city?
[Image via Shutterstock]