What Ever Happened To Chariot For Women?
Politics and Activism

What Ever Happened To Chariot For Women?

Creating Safe Spaces For Women Everywhere

Ahram Online

If you’ve heard of Chariot for Women, a female-only taxi service originating in Boston, you haven’t heard of it since April because that’s the last anyone reported anything about it. You can find several articles of people extolling the idea of a female-only taxi service, yet these people have gone silent on the subject. How successful is the company now? How is a female-only taxi service affecting the market? We’ll never know, because the company is shut down. A taxi service that openly caters to just women, only hires women and accepts women’s money, is illegal. It’s discrimination based on gender. It’s founder Michael Pelletz was determined to take it to the Supreme Court but the local courts got him first, it seems.

Michael Pelletz must be so sad, because he thought it was such a great idea and put so much effort into the project. I suppose in theory it is a good idea, but the idea of an all-female taxi service is nothing new, there are such companies that exist today. SheTaxi aims at primarily providing safe taxi service for women in New York, but they also provide rides for and employ men, which is why the company is able to avoid a lawsuit. So it's unoriginal and to be honest, it’s not a good business idea. Michael Pelletz probably thought that since a female taxi service is, "unique," (even though it isn't) it would be a profitable business. But he’s essentially denying half of his potential clientele and employees. How could that be profitable?

But it seems Michael Pelletz was more concerned about women’s safety than the money he would make. While exploring these articles, accounts of Uber drivers attacking and sometimes killing their passengers is given for the sole reason for why a female-only taxi service is needed. One of the biggest attacks of these was a man by the name of Jason Brian Dalton, who murdered six people. But here's the thing, he went on a shooting spree and shot people at random. He ended up killing four women and two men, a father and son. Statistically, men are more likely to be the recipients of violence. Men are more likely to be shot, and more likely to be stabbed. Burglars are more willing to rob men. To say that women need to worry about their safety and men don’t is absurd, but this female-only taxi service denies men’s need for safety. I guess men are just supposed to deal with it? An argument is made that women are more likely to be the recipients of sexual assault, but data indicates that women are more often sexually assaulted by men they know and are at least acquainted with. The rate at which a female-only taxi service will prevent sexual assaults against women will not be highly effective since it isn't the strange taxi driver doing much assaulting.

What made Chariot for Women safe and Uber unsafe wasn’t the fact that men were taken out of the equation. Uber has had to admit, apologize, and compensate several times for their poor security measures in hiring. Chariot for Women, on the other hand, was determined to enforce much more strenuous precautions with its employees, much like with SheTaxi. These added safety measures are what make Chariot for Women safer, not the lack of men involved. Yet, it’s marketed as a female-only service because women are more helpless and need more protection? Isn’t this the same as telling women they need to travel in groups, and not accept drinks from strangers - don’t women get pissed about that? These are all necessary safety measures to be taken because there are a lot of dangerous men out there, yes, which is why the added safety measures for Chariot for Women would weed out the potentially dangerous options.

I went to Michael Pelletz's website back when it was still up. It has since been taken down, which is a strong indication to me that the company has lost a lawsuit. On Pelletz’s website, he explains how he came up with the brilliant idea for a female-only taxi service. He said that he drove an Uber for a time when his wife expressed concerns doing it. Pelletz recounted that he had a drunk, male passenger who was acting strange and made him feel scared. Pelletz immediately concluded that if he, a man, felt afraid for his life, surely a woman would be even more scared!

It ultimately goes back to making a safe space for women where men aren't allowed. Had Michael Pelletz proposed a taxi service with the same caliber of safety measures and security as Chariot for Women, yet open it up for both men and women, like SheTaxi, it would very likely have been a success. It’s safe, it’s legal, it’s profitable, but instead people are going ballistic because women are sometimes hit on by their drivers.

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