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Uber-rival Chariot for Women is a female-only ridesharing service that puts safety first

An uber driver has created a new women-only ride-sharing service, Chariot for Women, designed with extensive safety features which allows it to offer rides to children as well as women.

Chariot for Women is set to launch 19 April in Boston, Massachusetts. Its founder Michael Pelletz was an Uber driver who developed the app after he felt threatened by a passenger, writing on the company’s website: “What if I was a woman?”.

The premise of Chariot for Women is the same as all the other ridesharing services, which has a client app and a driver app, but what makes it unique is its safety feature that “other apps forgot to do”, Pelletz told TechCrunch in an interview.

“We’re doing this because there is such inequality when it comes to security that afflicts driver and rider due to gender,” Pelletz said, “Women are across the world the ones being harassed and assaulted by male drivers.”

Uber has been under fire for not efficiently monitoring its drivers to ensure the safety of its passengers, with the company receiving five claims of rape and “fewer than” 170 claims of sexual assault between December 2012 and August 2015, according to data leaked by Buzzfeed. In February Uber driver Jason Brian Dalton allegedly shot and killed six people in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And on Friday, Uber agreed to pay $10m for misleading customers by overstating the thoroughness of its background checks.

The service’s patent-pending technology gives the driver and the client a code after a ride request has been made. When the car arrives, the driver and passenger check their codes match before the passenger gets in the car.

The service is open to only women passengers, and has only women as drivers. It will also pick up children of any gender under age 13.

It uses Safer Places to perform background checks, and requires that all drivers pass Massachusetts’ Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) check, the same deep background check used in daycare centers and schools, which the service pays for. It is set to add fingerprinting for its drivers as soon as it’s possible.

Chariot for Women donates 2 percent of every fare to charity, and the company does not use surge charging.

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