An idea that was long overdue, DriveHER debuted on March 16.
The release of DriveHER was met with praise from women who desired comfort and peace of mind while getting from Point A to Point B. In June of 2016, Aisha Addo, founder of DriveHER, spoke with Toronto’s Breakfast Television about her idea for a ride-sharing program designed for women.
Fast-forward to March 15, 2018, the day before DriveHER’s launch in Toronto. Addo gave an interview to CP24 in which she addressed the origins of the idea, the benefits of DriveHER to women, and the safety features and alerts on the DriveHER app. (The full CP24 interview is available here.)
Ride-Share Apps for Women
DriveHER is largely about peace of mind for female passengers and drivers. When it comes to ride-sharing services, two companies often come immediately to mind: Uber and Lyft – both operated primarily by men. DriveHER is the first ride-sharing app of its kind in Toronto. There are already several ride-sharing services out there specifically aimed at women, including:
- Lady Drive-Her, in Halifax
- Safr, based out of Boston
- See Jane Go, which operates in Orange County, California
- SheTaxis, in New York City (or “SheRides”, due to local NYC regulations on the word “taxi”)
- SheSafe in Victoria, Australia, and Shebah in Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane, and the Gold Coast
More often than not, cab rides take place without incident, but it’s not unreasonable for women to have concerns about the people “safely” driving them.
In 2014, New York cabbie Gurmeet Singh was sentenced to twenty years in prison for abducting and sexually assaulting a passenger at knifepoint in Brooklyn in 2011; assaults by cab drivers have made news all over the world. Many women who have used a taxi have at least one story of an uncomfortable or unpleasant encounter.
Michael Pelletz founded Boston’s short-lived Chariot for Women to provide a service that women could feel safe using. “There have already been a number of rapes and assaults by Uber drivers,” said Pelletz, “and countless more riders reported feeling threatened.”
Unfortunately, with attacks on drivers (in the case of India’s She Taxi) and the crumbling of Chariots for Women, there appears to still be resistance to the concept of female-focused ride-sharing programs. Even those who praise the idea of a female-led car service are concerned that there may not be a place for it. Some wonder if women-only ridesharing apps are even legal.
A spokesperson for Toronto Car Service told Global News, “I honestly don’t think women will [use DriveHER]. We have a good infrastructure of law and safety in Canada that takes care of women. The few incidents [of sexual assault in ride-share vehicles] that have occurred don’t represent the whole society.”
Despite some skepticism, many feel that apps like DriveHER and similar women-friendly ride-sharing apps is an idea that’s long overdue. Everyone using these apps has a right to feel confident and protected. And entrepreneurs like Aisha Addo are leading the charge to ensure that using a rise-sharing service, for both drivers and passengers, is a safe and positive experience.
More information about DriveHER can be found on YouTube, as well as Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and Instagram. The DriveHER app will be available on the App Store and on Google Play for Android and IOS devices.
Peter Campbell | Contributing Writer