Written by Julie Jernigan, Staff Writer
Ladies, your Chariot awaits. Earlier this week, a female-only Uber, appropriately named “Chariot,” debuted in Boston.
The founder and former Uber driver Michael Pelletz first found inspiration for his service in the film “Pretty Woman.”
According to the Washington Post, Pelletz said, “I saw something in this movie. I was made to take care of women, to love them, respect them…I was meant to do this.”
After working for Uber for nine months, it shocked Pelletz to hear of all the stories of women getting hit on while trying to get home.
“What if I was a woman? Just one bad apple behind the wheel and those women would not be safe at all. three a.m. in Boston is a candy store for predators,” his company’s website says.
With Uber and Lyft having increasingly more sexual assaults cases stacking against them, Buzzfeed reports, it’s no wonder why Pelletz wanted to create a service to protect the safety of women.
So, how does Chariot work? Female drivers will pick up women and children under 13, the website says. All drivers will be fingerprinted, and go through background checks with local law enforcement. Drivers will at least earn $25 per hour, and will have to answer a security question at the beginning of each day to confirm their identity. The app will provide the passengers with a safe word, and the ride cannot begin without the driver confirming the word. The company also allows transgender women to drive and ride. Chariot currently employs 1,000 women drivers.
Some experts argue whether this service is legal.
Dahlia C. Rudavsky, a partner in a Boston law firm who specializes in labor law, told the Boston Globe, “There’s nothing wrong with advertising particularly to a female customer base, but if a company goes further and refuses to pick up a man,
I think they’d potentially run into legal trouble.”
Pelletz is not concerned with these details.
“I have an amazing lawyer and law team, and they would have never come onboard if they thought anything I was doing was illegal,” Pelletz assured the Washington Post. “If and when we ever do face legal challenge, we will be very prepared. All we are doing is protecting women drivers.”
Many female potential passengers are refusing car services due to safety, and if this new service assures it, then we have a successful company on our hands. Chariot could potentially take off if they handle all the legal jargon thrown their way first.