Jun 09, 2017
Safr promotes itself as a ride-share service that empowers women, both as passengers and drivers.
Mom of three Morgan Loria is preparing to send her middle daughter to college, so she wanted to find a way to supplement her family’s income.
Loria teaches French and Spanish, but it’s not enough to cover everything, she said. So she she told her family she was thinking about driving for a ride-hailing app because of their flexible schedules.
“My [oldest] daughter, she’s a college student, had heard about a rideshare service for women and said, ‘Mom, you should apply for that,’” Loria said.
Loria hadn’t yet heard about Safr, a Boston-based company that says it is “redefining ridesharing for women.” But as she learned about it, she grew excited that it was the right fit.
She previously drove for Uber and Lyft, but her family had expressed some concerns about what kind of people she would be driving — like the possibility of picking up a group of drunk, rowdy men late at night from a bar. With Safr, she said, she has more control.
“This is really a service women passengers have been waiting with baited breath for, and women drivers also,” Loria said. Both drivers and passengers are “made to feel more secure. … It’s great to be of service to women and it feels different than just driving.”
Safr launched in March and currently has about 150 drivers. More than 8,000 riders have downloaded the app.
Safr focuses on providing a safe service for women passengers, but also on empowering women drivers and ensuring their financial security, said Safr marketing manager Joanna Humphrey Flynn.
“There are less than 25 percent of women in ridesharing, and those who do drive make 34 percent less than men,” she said.
Safr originally billed itself as a women-only ride-hailing app, but modified its platform to allow both men and women while still focusing on safety. Now, both drivers and riders can choose in the app which gender they’re most comfortable traveling with. If a female rider only wants a female driver, she can specify that when she signs up for Safr.
Peak hours are often late at night, Flynn said, but a lot of women either can’t work that late if they have children or don’t feel safe driving then.
“By creating an environment where women don’t have to worry about personal safety concerns, we’ve really liberated them to take full advantage of the ride sharing business,” she said.
With Safr, Loria is also now working for a company that has a mission she can completely support, she said. Though she could still drive for another service, she has only been working with Safr since it launched, she said, because it’s something she wants to help promote.
“I appreciate the flexibility because my youngest daughter is an athlete and participates in tournaments, so it gives me a chance to work around those hours,” she said. “To be present and not miss out on that.”
She’s also promoting Safr to her network of other Somerville moms. This job makes sense for mothers and retired women, she said, who want to get back into the workforce but still need flexible schedules.
“We all see this ride-share company as a great opportunity to help us find a solution to our needs, and … if we’re in a relationship, to be less dependent on another person financially,” she said. “You can go out and make your own decision with money you earn.”
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