Toronto has a new driving service on the streets, and it’s targeted specifically for women and their safety.
Aisha Addo is the brilliant women who created DriveHer after a taxi driver made her uncomfortable. Following this encounter, she decided to take matters into her own hands since no one else was going to. So with the inspiration behind her own traumatic situation, she created a women-only driving service, emphasizing on the importance of women’s safety.
While she commends other ride-sharing services for allowing riders to request female drivers and having preventative safety features, her company is going beyond those limited options.
“There was never really an option for women and people that identify as women. What DriveHer is, is providing an option and creating an equitable space where women and people who identify as women have that option.”
That option is to have a safe journey and feel comfortable while in the vehicle and on their way to their final destination.
All drivers must go through police and criminal background checks (that is a legal standard for other services, like Uber), as well as training on how to deal with specific situations that can occur off the road; such as anger suppression and contacting authorities if they witness assaults or unwanted behaviour.
Despite the backlash on social media, claiming the app is sexist, the company was even praised by Uber publicly for their progressive message, saying they welcome competition like this if they enforce safety particularly for women.
They also employ female drivers, in addition to male, to help women feel more comfortable on their rides. Think about how happy you’ve been if you’ve ever been alone or with a girlfriend and you get a female driver. Or think if you’ve ever even had one or heard of one.
Within the first week of running, they already have over 100 female drivers!
After leaving her friends house on her way home, a cab driver started asking her uncomfortable questions. She told the CBC, “He was asking me if I lived alone, and for me that was a bit triggering because I happened to.”
“Then he started asking if I had a boyfriend, and then [there] just started to be some really weird sexual innuendos. I became a bit guarded.”
While on the ride, she had asked a friend to stay on the phone with her for the continuation of her drive. Thankfully she made it home safe, but the experience made her feel anxious and hesitant to go in cabs afterwards.
Does this sound familiar to you, ladies? We’ve all had cringeworthy moments like this that instantly make us fearful of our lives. This is a story all women know too damn well.
I am glad this service is around and gaining significant popularity in my area because this is a common issue on the ride and DriveHer is a huge effort to diminish the daily incidents that occur and negatively affect women.
“People need to calm down and look at this from not only a safety perspective and an empowering perspective, but then also an empathetic perspective. Instead of complaining about it, have conversations about it. Be an ally. Stand in solidarity with the women in your lives and really try to understand where we’re coming from.”
This story is too damn relatable and common these days. If the story behind the creation of this service isn’t enough to make you want to have a discussion with other people about using apps such as Lyft or Uber, then I don’t know what will. This is a common issue many turn a blind eye to and I’m glad that this service is taking off so quickly and gaining popularity because if this was offered around the world, I guarantee you this would be the most successful driving service.
So thank you Aisha for being the change we need in this world and for encouraging others to do so.
Featured Image via Unsplash