New all-women car service facing some roadblocks?
Women passengers make up the majority of taxi rides in New York City, yet 99 percent of cab drivers are men.
She Rides, a car service planning to launch on Monday, is hoping to change that, by hiring and transporting only women, reports CBS News correspondent Vinita Nair.
Dinorah Decruz was one of the first drivers to be recruited. She says the decision to leave her old company, where there were hardly any other female drivers, was easy.
Decruz says when she pulled up, customers felt at ease.
"They would say, especially women, they feel much comfortable with a woman driver," she said. "Because I'm a woman, if I have to call somebody to come pick me up at 2 o'clock in the morning, 3 o'clock in the morning to go to the airport, go anywhere, I would prefer [a woman] 100 percent, I would feel more comfortable."
Catering specifically to women is exactly why Stella Mateo created She Rides. The ride sharing service and corresponding app will launch in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island, New York on Monday.
"I wanted to create a service that would empower women financially, and personally," Mateo said. "And being the mother of two daughters growing up, I have to shuttle my daughters around after school programs while I was working. So I always thought if I had, if I knew a women driver, I would feel more comfortable driving my daughters around."
It's one of the latest options in the growing car service market powered by smartphones, but She Rides provides a niche opportunity; a ride for women, driven by women.
When a woman opens the She Rides app and requests a ride, a female driver is tapped in the neighborhood to pick up the fare. When the app launches next week, She Rides will use women drivers already aligned with established car services. The company plans to recruit more of its own drivers in coming months.
Mateo wants her business to provide job opportunities specifically for women, but some call her ambition gender discrimination.
"You know there are women who don't want to go to a gym with men, they have an option to go to a female gym," Mateo said. "You have an option with your gynecologist, if you don't want to see a male, you don't feel comfortable, you have the option go to a female, this is about opportunities and options for women."
Law professor Sam Estreicher is an expert in employment discrimination at New York University.
"Well on the employment side I see a real problem," he said. "In general, the rule of law is that just because customers want someone of a certain race or sex or national origin, you cannot exceed to those wishes, you are engaging in discrimination when you do that."
But Decruz says she's just eager to hit the road and meet a new clientele.
"They have told me, 'oh, you're an excellent driver', 'I like the way you drive.'"
Mateo hopes to provide a safe environment for her female patrons, but as the law professor suggests, the car service is likely to hit some roadblocks.
for more features.