Making sure women arrive safely at their destination without fear of being harmed is the main motivation behind Tafelsig activist Joanie Fredericks’ women-only taxi service.
Ladies Own Ride Sharing for Women was launched last month (January) and was well received by women.
Fredericks, a well-known community activist who fights for the rights of women and children, says Ladies Own Ride Sharing for Women is about the right for women to be able to travel safely.
Fredericks has also been running a feeding scheme which supplies thousands of people in her community with a warm meal daily, since the start of lockdown in March last year.
“We are offering an exclusive service due to, amongst other things, the fact that we have identified that too many women are terrified to realise something that should be openly available: a safe ride. It is about safety and it’s about peace of mind and enjoyment of the experience.”
She adds that women should not constantly have to sit on edge ready to jump out of a moving vehicle when the driver suddenly veers off route. “Our service caters for those that specifically select the safe, lady driver option at a cost.”
A few years ago, Fredericks also established the Ladies Own Transport Services, a driving school for women.
Fredericks says community work is in her genes and she’s constantly looking around for new and innovative ways to address local problems.
She says Ladies Own Ride Sharing for Women is available to women all over Cape Town. She says the service is currently available via WhatsApp, but clients can SMS or make a phone call too.
“Friendly lady agents are ready to assist and provide all the relevant details such as rates and driver information upfront. This helps our clients to make informed decisions about whether they can afford a particular ride. We also send a digital idea of our driver whilst requesting a photo and details from the clients upfront.”
She adds: “Our agents are on alert and following through at the end of every ride with a message of appreciation for using our services and to find out if there are any areas of concern.”
She says she is encouraged by the positive reaction and adds that there is a great need for this kind of service.
“The incredibly positive feedback and responses from all over the country, from all women across race, colour, class and income lines make it a must that these services become available immediately. What is heart-warming is the many positive responses from men too.”
Fredericks says: “While our primary clients are women, we are equally concerned about children and other vulnerable people in the community.”
She says they operate 24/7, but currently with the curfew in place their last ride is at 20:00.