GOOD

Chariot For Women Is A Ride Share Service About Preventing Sexual Assault

An all-female driver service for women and children only.

It didn’t take a startling expose about mismanaged sexual assault claims for women to know that Uber is not the most female-friendly service in this, our sharing economy. But when BuzzFeed News got a hold of some leaked screen shots from Uber’s internal customer support interface, seeing the words “rape” and “sexual assault” appear more than 10,000 times in the “Subject” field of the search query window was still a sickening experience. Uber executives said some untrue things about how their Zendesk database locates search terms – which they later admitted were literally “imperfect and fictitious” – and decried the figures as “highly misleading.”


But aside from any leaked-data style smoking guns, one former Boston-based driver had seen enough in his own car to know that ride share services run the risk of being predator playgrounds. So the man, named Michael Pelletz, decided to create a female-run, fully female-staffed alternative exclusively for women and children. It’s called Chariot for Women, and it launches on April 19.

Pelletz was working long shifts to support his wife and children when, after one particularly tense experience with a belligerent male passenger that ended in him hailing a cop on the side of the road, he realized that female drivers and passengers were at potentially high risk of being attacked in ride-share environments. If he, a full-grown adult male, was frightened, what must a 23-year-old woman trying to make some extra cash feel like when some drunk asshole comes barreling into her car at 2 am?

Drivers for Chariot must be women, and must all be thoroughly background checked before being allowed to take passenger requests. The security protocols for rider and driver verification seem pretty rigorous, too. When a driver starts her shift she must answer a random security question that changes daily to verify her identity, and when a ride is requested, a “safe word” appears on both the driver and the customer’s phones. If the driver gives the passenger the correct word the ride can begin. If not, the passenger knows not to get in that car. And, like other ride share services, riders will see a photo of the driver along with the make, model and license plate number of their incoming car.

While Chariot was conceived of by Pelletz, he did promise a female-run enterprise, so the company’s president is his wife, Kelly. Kelly Pelletz is a former nurse, and she came up with the plan to divert 2 percent of all ride profits to local and national charities that benefit women. When riders get in the car, a popup in the app will display 10 charities that rotate each month. Passengers choose their preferred charity and the money goes straight to them.

With so many car sharing services available, it might be hard for Chariot to explode out of the gate like its Dark Overlord counterpart Uber did back when it launched in 2009. There’s Lyft. San Francisco has its own commuter-focused service called Chariot already, and Sidecar gave up the fight at the end of last year, ceasing operations in December.

But Chariot for Women does have the advantage of catering to a very specific demographic, and its entire pitch is rider safety, which is a pretty good one! The triggers that this could avoid for sexual assault survivors and peace of mind it could give to parents putting their children in cars – not to mention women generally who are getting into cars after dark – seems substantial. So here’s hoping that Chariot can make a dent in the profit margins of the more, let’s say, established parties in the on-demand driver game.

Articles
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health

Villagers rejoice as they receive the first vaccines ever delivered via drone in the Congo

The area's topography makes transporting medicines a treacherous task.

Photo by Henry Sempangi Senyule

When we discuss barriers to healthcare in the developed world, affordability is commonly the biggest concern. But for some in the developing world, physical distance and topography can be the difference between life and death.

Widjifake, a hard-to-reach village in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with a population of 6,500, struggles with having consistent access to healthcare supplies due to the Congo River and its winding tributaries.

It can take up to three hours for vehicles carrying supplies to reach the village.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Keith Boykin / Twitter

Fox News and President Trump seem like they may be headed for a breakup. "Fox is a lot different than it used to be," Trump told reporters in August after one of the network's polls found him trailing for Democrats in the 2020 election.

"There's something going on at Fox, I'll tell you right now. And I'm not happy with it," he continued.

Some Fox anchors have hit back at the president over his criticisms. "Well, first of all, Mr. President, we don't work for you," Neil Cavuto said on the air. "I don't work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics