An Essential Conversation About Safety, Access, and the Rideshare Industry
Trenelle, Founder and CEO of Go Girl Ride
Let’s have a conversation about safety, access, and the rideshare industry. I came across an article in The Atlantic that highlighted a study done by a group of researchers and economists. The Seattle study found that Black Uber riders were more likely to be canceled and experience longer wait times than white counterparts. In addition, the same study reported that womxn experienced exaggerated ride times. I spend a lot of my time recounting stories that womxn share with me about their horrific rideshare experiences (we’ll get to that momentarily). But, I think it’s equally crucial to shed light on the negative experiences that Queer folks encounter. There have been countless stories from folks within the LGBTQIA+ community sharing their experiences. SN:The erasure of people with disabilities and the neurodivergent within the transportation industry also needs to be discussed ASAP.
Even with data, personal accounts, and recorded footage readily available, BIPOC and the LGBTQIA+ community are still grossly underserved in the rideshare and taxi industry. I also want to take a moment to focus on womxn within both of these groups. I was an Uber driver for a few years. During my years driving for Uber, I’ve had my share of scary moments where my life was in danger, both as a Black person and a woman. But, more than me, womxn riders would tell me about the trauma they experienced while using Uber, Lyft, and taxis. I’ve heard everything from drivers asking too many personal questions about living arrangements to sexual assault; sexual harassment is common for womxn drivers and something that I became accustomed to experiencing. Please note that I’m not even scratching the surface of feeling unsafe as a Black driver in one of the whitest cities in America. I always ask womxn if they report these incidents, to which they either say, “yes” or ” “I did once, but nothing came of it.” For years, I would think, someone is going to have to hold these transportation companies accountable. Eventually, someone will have to create a transportation company that centers around accessibility and safety for these marginalized communities. In 2019, I took a stance and became that person. I started Go Girl Ride.
Go Girl Ride is an inclusive ride service centered on the safety of womxn, femmes, nonbinary folks, BIPOC, and the LGBTQIA+ community; we are for the people. Our slogan is, “We Meet You Where You Are .” We want our community of riders and drivers to have the assurance that they can trust us. So how do we differ from Uber, Lyft, and our direct competition Radio Cab? We’re building our transportation company with safety and accessibility at the forefront of what we do. Many hands make light work, and we certainly aren’t building this alone. We’re partnering with local and state organizations to bring safe transportation to the most marginalized groups in Portland. And what I love is that Portland is only our first stop. We’re on the way!