Women drivers, and only women and children passengers, is the name of the game for Chariot For Women.
While the rise of ridesharing services has been a boon to many, there's one big drawback about getting into an unmarked car with a stranger, or welcoming a rider in your own car, that may keep more people from using this mode of transportation, or participating as a driver, especially if they're women. A taxi or a bus or other clearly marked transit option has a few advantages over Uber and the like, in that they're obviously vehicles for hire, with all of the associated licensing, insurance, and screening of drivers. With a ridesharing service, those aspects of accountability may not be as clearcut as with a conventional taxi, which may leave a lot to be desired for some riders, who might like a bit more assurances of personal safety before hailing a ride from Uber or Lyft.
But a new ridesharing service, Chariot for Women, could help to allay those fears, from both riders and drivers alike, when it launches on April 19th, as it bills itself as being "Driven by women. Exclusively for women." According to the founder, Michael Pelletz. a former Uber driver, he loved driving for a ridesharing service as a way to make a little extra money, and although his wife considered doing so as well, she didn't, as "she said she was too nervous and scared to do it." And then an incident with an incoherent, on the verge of passed-out passenger, it hit home to Pelletz about the potential dangers for women drivers who find themselves in a similar situation, and he decided to try to come up with a safer alternative.
The solution, according to Pelletz, was to come up with a brand new kind of ridesharing company, and one in which women and children were the passengers, and only women were the drivers. With a women-only business model, he could help take some of the fear out of the ridesharing experience, for both the passengers and the drivers.
"How many times did he pick up college girls at 2 or 3 a.m.? How many times did he watch as they spilled out of Boston clubs and into the wrong rideshare car? Michael has two daughters, and the thought of them doing this was like a knife to the chest. Just one bad apple behind the wheel, and those women would not be safe at all. 3 a.m. in Boston is a candy store for predators. Michael’s fatherly instinct kicked in, and he started writing all of these scary incidents down to figure out how to solve these issues." - Chariot for Women
Chariot says they will do a thorough background check on every driver "before they can ever accept one passenger request," and then use a security question feature every day to ensure the driver's identity, as well as a 'safe word' feature that will allow riders to verify that the driver is indeed who she says she is. Passengers will also get to see a picture of the driver and get the license plate and model of the car before every pickup, as well as have real-time tracking ability through the app, so the riders will know exactly when their ride will show up, and what their driver will look like before ever getting in the car.
"Chariot was born to ensure safety, comfort and pleasure as well as giving back to female focused charities and foundations through our transportation services. A certain percentage of the riders fare will be donated to selected rotating non-profits."
Chariot for Women has a social good component built into it, with the stipulation that 2% of every fare will be donated to "women-based charities," and passengers will be able to pick which organization (out of a monthly curated list of 10 local and national charities) to donate to each time they ride with Chariot. If this is something that you'd be interested in, either as a driver or a passenger, find out more at Chariot for Women.