SA’s E-Hailing Services Lack Plan To Protect Women Against GBV

Women on social media continue to share incidences of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and femicide while using e-hailing services. This therefore brings a request of women drivers for women passengers to validate their safety.

SA’s E-Hailing Services Lack Plan To Protect Women Against GBV- SurgeZirc SA
SA’s E-Hailing Service/ Photo File: Bolt Service

Women on social media continue to share incidences of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and femicide while using e-hailing services. This therefore brings a request of women drivers for women passengers to validate their safety.

Uber and Bolt which are major South Africa’s e-hailing services, do not have an option for women passengers to request a woman driver.

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This concern came after “News24” asked Uber e-hailing whether it was considering having an option for women to request a driver who is also a woman to ensure their safety.

Uber said: “Safety is a top priority for us and while Uber is always looking at new features and products, this is not something we are looking into at this time.”

But the e-hailing service said it had made several safety features available to its customers such as the in-app emergency button, trusted contacts, injury protection and 24/7 customer support.

Uber further said: “We will continue to research and invest and remain open to consider various other safety-based technologies.”

This GBVF has been on the rise in South Africa, making women and children to feel as if there is no place or space available where they could be safe.

Bolt was also sent the same question, which said that it has noted number of reports by women on social media about instances where they felt unsafe while using e-hailing services.

Bolt expressed complete disapproval for any incidents of violence that they had suffered.

“Bolt strongly condemns gender-based violence, unwavering in our belief that every person has the right to move around without risk of harm, intimidation or coercion, or fear of death or injury,” Bolt said on Wednesday.

The e-hailing service did not provide an answer whether the option for a woman passenger/woman driver would be available to ensure the safety of women as raised by women.

However, it highlights its safety tips:

• Wait for your ride in a safe location, until the app alerts you that the driver has arrived. Avoid dark areas, and don’t wait unaccompanied.

• Be sure that the vehicle that arrives to collect matches the details of the ride that the app has shared with you. Ask the driver to give you his name and ask him who he is looking for – it should be you.

• Also check that the car make and model matches what’s in the app, along with its registration. Ensure that the driver’s picture matches the individual who is driving the vehicle.

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• Activate Bolt’s “Share My ETA” function in the bottom of the app, right under the driver’s profile, to share your trip details with trusted friends or family.

• The e-hailing service further stated that it believed everyone in South Africa had the right to travel safely and to earn a living.

This horrible doing as if violence against women and children has been described as a shadow pandemic, which continues in full strength in South Africa.

This article was submitted by Amanda Gumede

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