This article previously appeared in and appears courtesy of She's Fit to Lead. It was written by Zara Puskuldjian, a She's Fit to Lead contributor.
Yesterday was supposed to be the day! Chariot for Women was scheduled to go live in Boston, but after tons of media coverage over the last few weeks about this Uber and Lyft like service exclusively for females with female drivers only, yesterday came, and along with it, this:
So no cars, no drivers, nada! Are they really going bigger after all the media coverage or gearing up for the potential legal actions from those who are talking about how this can be perceived as discriminatory against men? We wonder, but we certainly hope it's the former.
While we're waiting for our car, let's talk about why the idea was born in the first place:
Michael Pelletz, a former Uber driver, always tried to get his wife Kelly to become an Uber driver. She wanted to but was too afraid for her safety. One night when Michael was driving, he had his first unsafe experience with a male passenger whom he had to take home. The man he was taking home was hardly conscious and completely incoherent. His eyes were rolling back in his head, and he was continuously passing out, violently squirming around the car before falling back asleep. Michael did not feel safe, and this is when he realized exactly why his wife would not be comfortable driving. He stopped by a nearby police officer who happened to be around, and the officer was able to help him. But ever since Michael had this experience, one question kept popping up in his head, "What if I were a woman?" The fears of his wife kept replaying in his head.
No one wants to drive an aggressive, potentially threatening, incoherent passenger around town. In the case of a female driver and male passenger, in many instances, the risk of the passenger physically intimidating the driver is very real. On the flip side, with the reports of sexual assault of female passengers by car service drivers, many potential female passengers fear using any car service. Both fears inspired Michael and Kelly to start Chariot for Women, a by women, for women car service.
In addition to the features offered by Uber and other car services allowing the passenger to see a picture of the driver, the car's license plate, the exact pickup location, and the make, model and other features of the driver's car, Chariot for Women also supplies a safety word that the driver must confirm to the passenger before the ride begins.
Not only is this a great service for women, but Michael and Kelly love helping others, so they are going to give back. Kelly put together a plan where 2 percent of every fare will be donated to charities that benefit women. Passengers will actually have a list of charities to choose from and can self-direct the 2 percent from their rides' proceeds.
I'm hoping Chariot for Women is launching soon and doesn't get held up in legal challenges. I for one will definitely be using it. Am I the only one? Let us know.