A revolutionary new mobile app has been unveiled in Australia, and it’s one that’s being warmly welcomed by women all over (including myself).
Conjured up by a single mother of four, ‘Shebah’ is the latest ride-sharing service aimed at creating a safer environment for females simply trying to get from A to B.
The app has so far been largely praised by the public, with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews spruiking the service on social media earlier this year. The widespread positive responses are perhaps unsurprising when you glance over the recent statistics illustrating many women’s attitudes towards getting in a cab or Uber by themselves.
One in three Australian women don’t feel safe in public spaces at night
In May this year, 600 Australian women aged 15-19 were surveyed as part of a report titled ‘A Right to the Night’. Commissioned by Plan International Austalia and Our Watch, the report found that many women felt unsafe in public, and as such, were curbing their behaviour by either modifying what they wear or simply avoiding going out after dark.
In a further social media survey conducted by the ABC, young women from across the country voiced their personal experiences of catching taxis and Ubers, with a number of themes emerging: the most common being male drivers asking personal questions or touching their legs.
Less than five per cent of taxi drivers are female
On the flip side, the number of female taxi drivers in Australia is astonishingly low – the predominant reason being that, again, women simply feel concerned for their safety. Simply put, the thought of dealing with inebriated men in a confined space at night leaves many women feeling uneasy.
Uber has introduced more accountability for drivers, but female passengers still harbour concerns
While ride-sharing app Uber has proven particularly popular, enabling riders to access real-time GPS tracking and view the name, photo, license plate number and customer-rating of each driver before taking a trip, issues of sexual assault and inappropriate behaviour still exist. In fact, the ABC’s social media survey showed that many women would rather walk than take an Uber, indicating the perils of ride-sharing in Australia and the subsequent need for services like Shebah.
But how does a female-only ride-sharing app work?
With plans to launch in February next year, Shebah will begin catering to Australian women and families by providing a safe and secure alternative to Ubers and taxis. The service will see women-only drivers offering rides to women-only riders and their children in the bid to allow passengers to “feel safer in their journeys”. As part of the mobile app-operated service, customers can appreciate:
- Extended safety checks
- Child car seats
- Scheduled bookings
The app will initially roll out in Brisbane, with hopes to expand it nationally and even internationally, having already pricked the interest of overseas neighbours such as America and New Zealand.