Women’s only e-hailing ‘baby steps for SA economy’

A women-only e-hailing service isn’t life-changing for most of us. But it can be for a lot of women – drivers, as well as passengers.

Over the past few days, my car had to go in for a service. This meant that I had to use the cellphone based e-hailing transport services on offer – and what an absolute joy this was!

Their drivers were quick to pick me up, I was spared the stress of negotiating the notorious Johannesburg highways during peak traffic hours and I enjoyed gripping conversation with the drivers on anything varying from politics to sport.

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“Isn’t it dangerous, getting into a car with a complete stranger?” my mother asked. This made me wonder.

It was South Africa, after all – a country known as an international crime hot spot where kidnapping is increasing every month.

Of course I had possibly the most informed sources of information on the matter at my disposal – the Bolt and Uber drivers themselves.

“You think passengers are at danger?” one asked me. “It’s much worse for drivers. We get robbed, kidnapped, our cars get hijacked…”

Yesterday, the lovely Snapdragon had an appointment in one of the privileged northern suburbs, and she decided to follow my lead and use one of the e-haling transport services… but the safety… If only you could request a female driver.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Uber and Bolt e-hailing cabs torched in Soweto

We investigated and, lo and behold, it is possible. A small percentage of these services’ drivers are women and you can indeed ask for a woman to drive you if you are female.

We immediately scheduled a women’s driver for her excursion. When I wrote this column, I still had no idea how her trip went down.

I have no idea if the car was on time, if she made it to her function without being late and whether the driver survived a ride with Snapdragon.

When she was on her way to her fancy outing, The Citizen’s presses were already grunting and growling to get this newspaper printed.

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But I am excited about a service that can give a portion of South African women the opportunity to work and operate a small business in relative safety.

I am excited about the idea of a large portion of the population having access to reliable transportation.

I know a women-only e-hailing service isn’t life-changing for most of us. But it can be for a lot of women – drivers, as well as millions of potential passengers.

This is just one of those baby steps our economy needs to be able to stand up. I’ll be following this service closely.

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