Despite Uber taking off around the world with an ever expanding network of drivers and passengers, the struggle for women to feel safe on their journey remains an issue.
According to BuzzFeed News, a former Uber customer service representative found 6,160 returns for the search query "sexual assault" in Uber customer support tickets. The term "rape" returned 5,827 individual tickets.
While the article goes on to explain Uber's rebuttal to these figures, they still provide food for thought.
Hoping to improve the safety of women passengers and drivers in America, is the soon to launch women only rideshare service, Chariot for Women.
The app is the brain child of Michal Pelletz, an Uber driver, who came up with the idea after an unsafe experience with a passenger. A young man entered his car and proceeded to babble directions and pass out. Pelletz called police for help and began to think, “what if that was a woman?”.
Wanting to ensure women never found themselves in similarly risky positions, Chariot for Women plans to use new safety practices, including a thorough background checking of drivers and a safe word for both the driver and passenger.
When a driver starts her day, she will have to confirm her identity by answering a security question and confirm it again to any woman requesting a ride. When a request is made, both parties will be sent a safe word and the ride can only begin if the words match.
If the driver doesn’t have the safe word, the passenger will know not to get into the car and can instead look for the correct driver.
Like Uber, the passenger will see a picture of the driver, the car’s make and plate number for every ride while the app has adapted the model of real-time GPS tracking and maps so the passengers know exactly when the Chariot will arrive.