News / Toronto

Women-only ride-sharing service coming to Toronto

Local entrepreneur says the company is responding to the need for safety for women using the taxi service

Aisha Addo’s new ride-sharing service, DriveHer, will cater exclusively to women. The 25-year-old says too many women have been made to feel uncomfortable – or worse – by the “inappropriate” behaviour of some male taxi drivers.

Liz Beddall / Metro

Aisha Addo’s new ride-sharing service, DriveHer, will cater exclusively to women. The 25-year-old says too many women have been made to feel uncomfortable – or worse – by the “inappropriate” behaviour of some male taxi drivers.

A taxi service by, and especially for, women.

It’s expected to be the latest entrant in Toronto’s growing ride-sharing scene.

Entrepreneur Aisha Addo has already enlisted 20 female drivers to work for DriveHer, and is hoping to launch the company this summer.

The service will resemble Uber, but both the driver and the client must be women.

Addo – who is the founder of the Power to Girls Foundation – believes women need an alternative to what she called the “inappropriate” behaviour of some male cab drivers.

“Girls are telling us they feel uncomfortable in cabs when they leave campus in the middle of the night,” she said.

Addo, 25, said she’s been in situations where she felt “trapped,” unable to get out the moving car and not willing to get into an argument.

“He’s driving you in his car. Things could turn violent,” she said, citing a recent incident where a woman reported being groped by a taxi driver.

Addo knows her new venture could stir some backlash, but insists the need to feel safe outweighs any “unfounded” criticism.

“There’s no segregation here. All I want is to create a safe space for women,” she said.

Under the city’s new ride-sharing licensing regime, DriveHer will be required to pay a $20,000 application fee, and ensure its drivers have a $2 million insurance policy.

Beck Taxi operations manager Kristine Hubbard said she believes taxis are safe for everyone, regardless of whether they’re driven by a man or a woman.

“They just can’t continue to hide behind the ride-sharing tag. They’re vehicles for hire like any other taxi,” she said. “Otherwise we always welcome competition. Come on in, and see you on the streets.”

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