A 35-year-old London based mother of one, Sade Agboola, has set up a taxi firm that will only employ female drivers in a bid to make women feel safer when getting a lift in a taxi late at night or on the school run, according to a Metro report.
The company, which is launching this month, is called Annisa Cars and is marketed towards women and children although male passengers will be accepted.
She has five drivers at present and 30 guardians who can look after children whose parents cannot pick up from school immediately.
All drivers will be CRB checked and have completed a health and safety course.
Ms Agboola feels that as Uber’s licence has not been renewed by Transport for London (TfL), there could be a gap in the market for a taxi company which makes the safety of female passengers a priority.
‘The idea came from mine and the experiences of my friends and family. When travelling on London transport a lot of women feel uncomfortable.
‘Sometimes a female on their own will be alone at after a night out and they just don’t feel safe in the taxi or mini cab.
‘I have friends who are mums and feel uncomfortable using public transport or private hire firms. ‘A lot of women are working or can’t afford a car so they need help and to feel safe at the same time. ‘Working parents might need someone to pick up their kids from school and often mini cabs won’t take anyone under 16 or 18. ‘Mini cab companies are often expensive and I heard stories of drivers smoking in the car and when someone complains they are told to leave and get out of the car.
‘There are quite a lot of assaults happening in mini cabs, I was shocked to find this out. These are drivers who have been checked and have all their documentation, but it still happens. ‘Some women just don’t feel safe being driven by a man.’
Annisa Cars will drive passengers in Croydon, Sutton, Brixton and Streatham with the intention of covering the whole of south London by the end of next year.
Sade, who also runs a part-time hospital charity that helps women with health issues and counselling, said: ‘A lot of women use Uber because they feel safer, that’s the reason they use it.
‘If it goes then there would be a big gap in the market the we could fill. ‘There are also a lot of women drivers who work at Uber – they would definitely be welcome here. ‘We want to expand to more areas of south London and then to the rest of London it if goes well. ‘We take some disabled people if we can as our cars are not adapted, and may take men in the future, but it would only be male driver staking men and female drivers taking women.’
Sade added: ‘I did a lot of research in my area and discovered there really was a need for this service. I was surprised this hasn’t been catered for before. ‘It’s not taken seriously enough, women or children should never have to feel unsafe or uncomfortable because of a driver.’