Amid the flurry of Ubers, Lyfts and plain old yellow cabs comes yet another new innovation in e-hailing—rides by female drivers, for female passengers.
SheRides is a new livery service app that enables women to specifically request same-sex drivers, either for religious reasons or simply because getting into a car with a stranger is less daunting when that stranger is also female. Men using the app must have at least one woman in their party, or else they'll be rerouted to another service, the Times reports. Quick, register the trademark for UberMensch!
The app represents an interesting shift in a deeply gendered profession—of the city's 59,999 livery car drivers, only 2,952 are women, a total of just 5 percent. Only one percent of women are yellow cab drivers, though SheRides (to be known as SheTaxis outside New York) has already recruited 50 female drivers from existing companies to participate.
It's easy to understand why cab driving might not be the most female-friendly profession, though bullet-resistant partitions and security cameras have drastically reduced the number of driver assaults and murders that were particularly prevalent in the 90s.
Still, women in the business face harassment not just from fares, but colleagues. Miriam Malave, who has been a livery driver in Brooklyn for three decades, told the paper that male drivers still insist that she doesn't belong behind the wheel, telling her "This is a man’s job. Go home and cook."
With any luck, SheRides will empower more women to take up taxi driving as a profession, which is beneficial for its flexibility and money-making potential. Cristina Velos told the Times she decided to become a livery driver after nearly two decades as a hotel housekeeper for that reason. “I think there’s more opportunity,” she said. “You have more time for family. You feel more comfortable. You never have a supervisor.”
The app will launch through Apple on September 16, and eventually expand for Androids. Drivers will wear hot pink pashminas, which sure beats the hell out of that pervy-looking mustache.