Nigerian ride-hailing app aims to put women at ease

Chichi, a member of HerRyde, a ride-hailing app with all-female drivers, smiles as she drives off in her car in Abuja, Nigeria, September 4, 2022. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

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ABUJA, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Hauwa Shakir puts the finishing touches on an elegant purple and gray dress, grabs her purse and climbs into a gray Toyota Corolla outside her home on the outskirts of central Abuja.

Shakir, 31, is among thousands of Nigerians requesting rides using mobile apps, but there’s something unusual about her car: a female driver. She said driving with HerRyde, an all-female driver app that launched in August, put her at ease.

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“I’ve had scary experiences with the other rides,” the fashion designer and lawyer told Reuters.

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She is happily typing on her cell phone on her way to a nearby mall. Some male drivers, she said, would engage in inappropriate conversation or even make her feel like they might attack her.

HerRyde started with 10 drivers and recorded around 500 trips in the first month in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. Its founders plan to expand elsewhere in Nigeria.

Nigeria has no official statistics on sexual assaults on ride-hailing apps, but stories of sexual assault, robbery or harassment of female passengers and drivers abound in local media.

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Uber and Lyft say they have received thousands of sexual assault reports related to billions of trips across the United States. Uber said passengers made up about half of those accused, but Lyft didn’t disclose what proportion of the incidents resulted in drivers being injured. Continue reading

Monsurah Alli-Oluwafuyi, 30, co-founder of HerRyde, said these stories sparked the company’s launch.

“We don’t want cases where women have to be on the go or nervous when using ride-hailing services,” she said. HerRyde will also expand opportunities for female drivers, she said.

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Adetutu Patricia Oni, a mother of two who has been driving for ride-hailing apps for the past three years, said HerRyde has improved their job because drivers are vetted and know what to expect.

“We are often discriminated against,” she says. “For example, if you have a request from a male customer, the man tends to cancel the ride because he doesn’t want to ride with you as a woman.”

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Reporting by Abraham Achirga Writing by Libby George Editing by Mark Potter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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