Ride-sharing Safr coming to Orlando, focuses on women’s safety

PRESS

Ride-sharing Safr coming to Orlando, focuses on women’s safety

May 30, 2018

MARCO SANTANA | ORLANDO SENTINEL | APRIL 26, 2018

A ride-sharing company with the stated mission of offering safer rides and work environments for women has expanded into Orlando.

Officials with Boston-based Safr said in a release that the company will “improve the lives of women everywhere through safe transportation, job creation and financial security.”

The company’s decision to target women and children as passengers was a reason it expanded to Orlando, where families visit theme parks year round, President and CEO Syed Gilani said in an interview.

The mobile app is available to download but background checks and personal interviews with potential drivers in Orlando mean the service likely will not be on the streets until late May.

The company has included several in-app safety features, including a button that automatically calls 911 and a function that notifies uploaded contacts of a rider’s location.

In addition, a unique color will flash on screen when a passenger comes within about five feet of the driver.

That is meant to ensure passengers that they are getting into the right car, Gilani said.

In the release, the company takes aim at its most high-profile competitors Uber and Lyft, ride-sharing giants that have faced recent controversy.

Uber released a report this week that said women made up 38 percent of its workforce, a number slightly up from last year’s 36.1 percent.

That number is even lower in the U.S. and Canada, where 32.4 percent of Uber drivers are women.

Meanwhile, harassment and rape claims against drivers of both services have also been on the rise.

Safr’s release says that the company focuses on driver and passenger safety by vetting all drivers with comprehensive background checks, including criminal and motor vehicle history.