Nation’s first women-only ride sharing service revs up


PETALING JAYA: Women can now travel safely on public transportation with Riding Pink, the nation’s first ever women’s-only ride-sharing service.

Launched in October, Riding Pink was started with the aim of allowing women a “safe flexible avenue for additional income and providing women a safe alternative to complement other ride-sharing apps and public transport”.

Riding Pink founder Denise Tan said the ride-sharing taxi service, which currently only operates in the Klang Valley, evolved from an idea for creating job opportunities for women.

“Some of them may find it difficult to get back into the workforce after a long absence. Others might have family commitments and separation anxiety about leaving their kids for too long a time, issues that normally come with fixed jobs,” Tan told FMT.

“Many women, including stay-at-home moms whom I spoke to, shared about how driving to earn extra income would be ideal, given the flexibility and the ability to juggle their work with their domestic commitments.

“However, they said they would feel more comfortable driving other women around. Furthermore, from my own experience, even as a rider, I would feel more comfortable being driven around by a female.”

According to Tan, the response has been extremely encouraging, as the service now averages about 50 rides a week.

“This figure has been steadily increasing week after week, a far cry from the nine rides we recorded in our first week! So far, only about 3 per cent of ride requests are unmet – which to us is commendable, given we are a small startup and we match all rides manually for now,” Tan said.

According to Tan, the service also aims to “totally eliminate, or at least reduce” instances where women are harassed on public transportation.

“There are plenty of reported cases both from within and outside of Malaysia. Just as important, but not always as obvious, are more subtle forms of harassment a women rider faces,” Tan said.

These, Tan said, would include sneak peeks to outright stares into the rear mirror at women passengers sitting at the back, or conversations uncomfortable for women.

“I have also heard of female friends receiving calls and unwanted texts the day after a ride. While some of these may not tantamount to outright safety issues or reported cases, they are nonetheless traumatising to the female rider,” Tan said.

“Riding Pink hopes to at least reduce such instances, if not totally eliminate it.”

Recent cases of harassment include an incident this week where a GrabHitch driver had apparently behaved in an indecent manner to a passenger while taking her to a mall here.

Malaysian ride-sharing service Grab jumped on the gender bandwagon following the incident, announcing that GrabHitch passengers will have the option to select drivers of the same gender.

However, Riding Pink, for now, remains at the forefront of the niche, having developed its services themed around serving women only.

Riding Pink also provides a hotline operating up to midnight for any women in need of transportation.

Charges are based on a minimum fare they’ve set along with distance and some additional allowances for requests during peak hours.

The service starts at RM1 for a base rate and RM1 for pre-booking, proposing a fare based on its calculator whereby the driver and rider can then negotiate from there. Both sides are allowed to counterpropose until they can come to agree on a price.

Those interested can manually book Riding Pink’s services for now via personal messages to the Facebook page, although Tan has assured that a mobile app is coming very soon.