DriveHer went into operation last Friday in the Greater Toronto Area, providing female drivers for women only clients.
“For Women By Women”
“For Women By Women” is the motto of the ride-sharing app that was created by Aisha Addo.
Addo came up with the idea after an experience with a male taxi driver made her very uncomfortable during the ride home from a friend’s place one evening.
“providing an option and creating an equitable space”
“He was asking me if I lived alone, and for me that was a bit triggering, because I happened to,” she said. “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.”
Addo called a friend and in her native Twi language, spoken in Ghana and Ivory Coast, asked the friend to stay on the phone with her for the rest of the ride.
And while she did arrive home safe, the experience left her anxious about getting into a taxi alone again.
“Transportation was one of the things for me that I was like: if I can’t be safe on the street, at least I can be safe in a car. Once that privilege is taken away, you become anxious every time [you take a taxi], and I didn’t want women to feel like that.”
“It sort of got me thinking later on, ‘What about the people whose phones are off, or they don’t really have anyone to call?'” Addo told CBC News.
Men account for 85 per cent of taxi drivers in Canada. And now Addo is trying to change that.
“We recruit female drivers, and most of our clientele are women,” she said.
“We do want to expand this across Canada”
“There’s so many ride-sharing services, let’s not get that wrong, and that’s amazing, but then there was never really any option for women and people that identify as women,” Addo said.
“What DriveHer is, is providing an option and creating an equitable space where women and people who identify as women have that option.”
Jordyn Samuels was one of a hundred drivers at work for the app over its launch this weekend.
“I wanted to drive for DriveHer because one of the most common comments that I get is, “I’m so happy to see a female driver,” she said. “I can also put my driving skills to good use at all times on the DriveHer app.”
“We do want to expand this across Canada within the coming months. We want to provide a service for women,” she said. “Literally the entire premise of this is to serve women. As long as all women are using it, we’re cool.”
(With files from CBC)