Ridesharing may seem like a safe and reliable way to get around, but these apps can come with significant risks to many passengers, especially young women. Many former passengers have reported instances of sexual assault, physical violence, and intimidation while using apps such as Uber or Lyft. However, there are some women-friendly ridesharing alternatives that you could use to increase your safety and feelings of well-being.
Dangers Women Face While Using Rideshare Services
Since Uber and Lyft started operating worldwide, hundreds of women have reported instances of sexual assault, abuse, and other acts of violence by rideshare drivers. Female Uber and Lyft drivers are also at risk of assault by their passengers. While many women have experiences with rideshare drivers that do not end in an assault, thousands more report feeling uncomfortable or harassed while riding in an Uber.
In addition, Uber and Lyft claim to run background checks on their drivers, independent checks detail shocking results. According to the Boston Globe, the state of Massachusetts ran a new statewide background check on Uber and Lyft drivers in 2017. The state pulled over 8,000 rideshare drivers off the road after these background checks. Many of these drivers had serious crimes, such as sexual assault and other violent crimes, on their records – and Uber and Lyft still approved them to drive.
Uber and Lyft claim that their rideshare services are a safe way to get home – but based on the experience of many women who have used these apps, who are they truly safe for? While Uber, Lyft, and other mainstream apps may pose risks to women, a new company called Safr is launching women-friendly ridesharing services to ensure the safety of female passengers and drivers alike.
What Is Safr?
Many women have faced violence while using Uber and Lyft, and the companies seem to do very little to respond to these incidents. The companies may issue statements, reiterate best practices – but it is very rare that they make any changes to their system. In response to these stories, the founders of Safr decided to create their own service.
Based in Boston, Safr is an app-based ridesharing service that caters towards the needs of women and women’s safety. The app includes the following features to ensure that women feel safe and secure before, during, and after their ride.
- Easy-to-find information so that users can contact live company representatives when they need to. On the Uber and Lyft websites and apps, this information can be extremely difficult to find.
- The option for riders to choose the gender of their driver. Uber and Lyft drivers are mostly male, which can make some women feel unsafe.
- A built-in safety feature that allows users to call 911, an emergency contact, or a company representative immediately. Uber has this feature, but Lyft does not currently have this option for passengers.
- Required in-person interviews and driving sessions for drivers so that the company can more closely vet the drivers. Uber and Lyft do not have an in-person vetting system – the company hires drivers almost immediately after a background check and document verification.
Are Women-Friendly Ridesharing Services the Future?
Safr is not the first women-friendly ridesharing service on the market, but it may be the fastest-growing and the most stable. Currently, the app operates in Boston, Orlando, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Safr hopes to continue expanding in other markets in the future.
Based on the experience of many women while using Uber and Lyft, women-friendly rideshare services may expand into the future. Uber and Lyft may launch additional initiatives to cater to women’s safety, such as Uber’s Women Preferred View feature for female drivers in Saudi Arabia.
Using a women-friendly rideshare service can help you feel safer and have greater peace of mind while getting around San Diego and the surrounding areas. If you do not have access to these services, exercise caution when using Uber or Lyft. Contact law enforcement and an Uber or Lyft sexual assault attorney as soon as possible if you suffer assault or abuse at the hands of a rideshare attorney.