started a revolution in offering alternative travel means for those that want to look outside of traditional taxi services; this alone has said to improve safety for women. This has been taken a few steps further by some new exciting startup transportation network companies offering alternatives such as women only drivers and pre-arranged co-sharing ride options.
What Uber successfully created was a communication platform (APP) that put the onus on being able to ensure travellers know who you are being picked up by, what they are going to be travelling in, and most importantly offer reviews from other previous passengers. In addition to this, both the traveller and the driver do not have to exchange cash as the payment system automatically deducts the money from the passenger’s pre-authorised credit card. Pretty hard to do a runner, when your details are already in the system. The passenger is also protected, as the fair is approximated before the journey.
While some have described this as sexist or discriminatory, the sad fact is that many women feel unsafe using taxis. Some women that have travelled in a taxi can tell a story of such instances that involve inappropriate comments, drivers that ask personal questions and in some rare incidences a driver trying to initiate physical contact. Many women would rather walk than call a taxi. Imagine preferring a 40-minute walk, rather than spend 10 minutes in a car dealing with the severe anxiety of travelling with a male stranger. That’s where the likes of newly operating Go Buggy
provides the Go Girl service. The intention is they offer female drivers to make their female riders feel safer while travelling.
The inclusion of a driver rating systems has made drivers more accountable. Both rider and driver are invited to leave feedback for the other. This way everyone is accountable. In addition to this, Uber put in place what it calls safety time. They go through the information left in reviews and handle any necessary investigations. Additionally, every trip is tracked in real time by GPS. The rider can see the license plate number, driver rating, as well as their name and photo before taking their trip.
Alternative companies have popped up for ride-sharing options or to hook up with other travellers embarking on a journey. Services are available from Share Ur Ride
and Co Seats
. Co Seats operates much the same way as Uber, with passengers able to view profiles before booking a ride.
Share Ur Ride describes themselves as prearranged hitchhiking, with the passenger contributing petrol money. Both parties can make contact before travel to arrange the pickup and drop-off points, as well as agreeing on the cost contribution.
Still, some women aren’t comfortable with co- sharing options provided by these operators. That’s where the likes of GoGirl
, and Shebah
come into play. Like Go-girl, Shebah is an all-female network of drivers and passengers. They employ only women drivers to ensure that women feel safe choosing them for their travel needs.
According to an Ipsos survey
public transport can be terrifying for women, and most people don’t understand just how harrowing it can be. The truth is that 1 in 3 Australian women aged 15-19 are afraid to be out after dark. 25% of those surveyed believe young women should avoid public transport when they are alone. 33% don’t feel safe at night when out in public space.
Any service that helps people travel without fear of danger or violence and get home safely is a win. Some of these alternative transportation network companies bring rating systems, trackable journeys, no cash handling and women drivers. There is definitely nothing wrong with taking a taxi; however, some people want alternatives, and there are some good options mentioned here to consider.
Do your homework, and enjoy your travels.
Written by: A frequent traveller
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