In recent times, female users of ride-booking apps have complained about sexual harassment and insecurity, particularly when they commute at night. In response, the ride-hailing apps initiated several safety measures but it has not done much to root out sexual harassment complaints by women.
In the first half of this year, some 550 women in the United States sued Uber claiming they were sexually assaulted by male drivers on the ride-hailing platform. They alleged that female passengers in America were sexually assaulted, sexually battered, raped, Stalked, and Harrassed, among others by Uber drivers with whom they had been paired through the Uber application, according to tekedia.
Aside from Uber, ride-hailing app Lyft also received more than 4,000 reports of sexual assaults during rides from 2017 to 2019. What is more, over half of the incidents in 2019 were reported as “non-consensual touching of a sexual body part”.
These incidents are not different in Nigeria, leading Monsurah Alli-Oluwafuyi to launch HerRyde, a ride-hailing app with exclusively women drivers. The idea behind the company is due to rising incidents of harassment and abuse women face on ride-hailing trips.
“I’ve had scary experiences from the other rides,” Hauwa Shakir, 31, told Reuters about her experience with male drivers. To curtail the menace, Alli-Oluwafuyi launched HerRyde only for women drivers and riders to ensure their safety.
The app was launched in August this year with 10 drivers and reportedly recorded approximately 500 trips in its first month in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. The company aims to provide a safer option for female drivers and riders, for female drivers and riders, and also create employment opportunities for more women, the company noted in a statement.
“HerRyde is committed to women’s safety and inclusion in the ride-hailing/mobility space. We aim to provide women with safer taxi experiences while driving inclusion by providing a safe space for women to work and earn as mobility entrepreneurs.”
Undoubtedly, all-female ride-hailing is beginning to gain popularity worldwide. Uber launched a feature for female derives in Saudi Arabia which provides them with a choice in selecting a preference to be connected to women riders.
Ride-hailing platform Bolt also came out with their own feature to protect women. It adopted a women-only feature on its platform which is currently active in five countries across the globe.