Women's-Only Uber-Like Car Service Readies Launch, Could Face Tricky Legal Issues

Josh WolfordBusiness

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If you asked a handful of women whether or not they feel 100 percent safe in taxis, Uber, or Lyft cars – I'm willing to bet the the predominant answer would be not really. Sure, the majority of the time taxi rides go off without incident, but there are those stories – incidents of attempted sexual assault and the like – that set many women on edge.

It's this uncertainty that led one woman to create her own, Uber-like on-demand car service. It's called SheTaxis, and it will be launching in New York City later this month (as SheRides in NYC, per Taxi regulations).

The gimmick, if you will? SheRides is a car service run by women, employing women, driving women. According to The New York Times, SheRides will only give rides to women and will only dispatch women drivers. Apparently, this model will make women feel more comfortable with calling a stranger for a ride.

Unless you're one of the people calling misandry, this sounds like a decent idea. It's terrible that many women feel unsafe with services like Uber, but it's hard to blame them. Bad things have happened. People have reported some scary stuff. If some women feel more comfortable using a women's-only service, have at it.

Vice suggests a major problem with this model, however. Mainly the fact that it's pretty much illegal.

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (the ones who've been fighting Uber and Lyft so vehemently) runs the world of ride services in the nation's biggest city. Everything goes through them – including ridesharing startups. Apparently, the TLC guidelines prohibit drivers from refusing service to most people (except in very limited scenarios). A company that systematically disallowed 50 percent of the population would most certainly run afoul of this regulation.

"Regardless of their marketing plan, they will be subjected to the same requirements as yellow cabs prohibiting service refusal," a spokesperson for the TLC told Vice.

But the TLC didn't suggest that SheRides would run into any trouble during launch. What will determine the company's success or failure, however is whether or not they ban men from riding or simply suggest that they don't. Vice gives the example of women-only gyms that don't specifically outlaw men from joining – but everyone just knows and accepts that they are for girls.

The service is slated to launch on September 16th. It'll be interesting to see if the model is successful, and if so, who takes the baton and carries it to other cities.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf