By: Aimee Shaw

An Auckland ridesharing service designed for women only is gearing up to launch next month and give competitors Uber and Zoomy a run for their money.

DriveHer, founded and funded by 23 year-old Joel Rushton, has been set up with the intention to make women feel safe and comfortable.

The service will launch on December 5 and have a team of all-female drivers.

Men will be able to use the service – but only with female passengers, and they won’t be able to sit in the front seat.

Rushton, a third-year law student, says he was motivated to start the ridesharing service based on experiences he had grown up around with domestic violence, and situations some of his friends had been in.

“DriveHer is about giving women options, it’s about giving women an option to feel safe because currently what we know is that the taxi and ridesharing industry isn’t safe,” Rushton says.

“Current operators, there’s not much to protect women from potential risks, the chance of being assaulted or even just having an uncomfortable situation, which we really want to avoid.”

Rushton says he also took inspiration from Australian all-female ridesharing service Shebah. “If women feel safer with a women driver then they have that. It shouldn’t be something that is necessary but it is.”

Rushton invested more than $100,000 into the service, funds he says he saved himself.

DriveHer, which works like Uber with jobs popping up on a cellphone screen with drivers choosing to accept or decline, will have 50 drivers ready for launch – many of which have made the move from Uber.

“It’s an uphill battle as there aren’t very many female drivers because of the issues but we’re getting there nevertheless,” he says.

“We have a lot of drivers who have just come over already.

“Many Uber drivers I have talked to have said they would not feel comfortable with their wife driving for Uber because they feel it is unsafe but they would be happy with their wife driving for DriveHer. Even wives or partners of Uber drivers that don’t currently drive we expect to see them coming through as well.”

Like Uber, DriveHer will have similar prices to Uber and show the cost of a trip ahead of booking confirmation, Rushton says.

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