Ladies, how many times have you felt uneasy and unsafe whilst travelling to and from your day-to-day destinations? Mothers, how hard is it to trust that your little one will get safely to school and back without harm when you can’t take them yourself? Wouldn’t you rather commute with someone you trust? Fear not. There’s an app for that.
Pink Cab is a ridesharing app based in Trinidad and Tobago that allows female drivers to provide safe transit for women and children only. That’s right! It’s driven by women for women. It was birthed in June of 2018 with its sole purpose being to provide a service that helps to stop violence and sexual harassment against women and children while in transit.
It’s no secret that over the past decade, women and children have been the target of missing persons cases, specifically in the fast-paced island of Trinidad and Tobago. According to the Trinidad Express Newspapers, over 44 women from the 771 reports in the year 2020, are still missing as of today. The recent death of 23-year-old Andrea Bharath in February 2021 sent the nation of Trinidad and Tobago into despair, propelling thousands of women to voice their daily fears of using public transportation. Now more than ever, women especially, are searching for alternatives to public transport. Thus far, Pink Cab is the only all-female rideshare app available in the Caribbean.
With safety at the forefront of the app, Pink Cab has installed a number of safety features that give riders peace of mind every step of the way. This includes: background checks, 24/7 trip monitoring, Live location tracking, ID verification, an OTP (one-time passcode) only accessible by driver and passenger, and an SOS button that immediately dispatches security once pressed, just to name a few. Of course, with the advent of COVID-19, additional safety features have been added such as consistent sanitation of vehicles, inside and out, mandatory masks, and the provision of sanitizers for all passengers.
Observing the concerns of their riders during the peak of the pandemic in 2020, the Pink Cab team continues to go out of their way to ensure passengers that they can be relied upon for support. As a result, Pink Cab now offers errand services such as pick-up and delivery of groceries and pharmaceuticals, and even babysitting services. Implementing these services have helped to benefit persons who have been greatly impacted by COVID-19, including single mothers, persons with disabilities and the elderly.
“It’s like a family. It’s not just a rideshare app”, said Maria, a Pink Cab driver who uses the app to ensure the safe transit of her child herself.
“I have no complaints about it. There is constant communication every step of the way. From dispatch to the driver to passenger and back, we always look out for each other. As women, we have to.”
Maria describes herself as a hustler and a hardworking mother, who had to make tough decisions to mold her child’s life. As the economy is not set up for the woman to stay home and the man to work as society dictates, both parties have to provide financially in order to afford a decent living. As such, having several small businesses herself, Pink Cab has definitely helped her to maintain financial stability and continues to do so.
“Of course, there is discrimination,” she scoffs when asked about being a part of the public transport service. Trinbagonian culture contributes to the misconception that women simply cannot drive or would need the assistance of men to make “dangerous” trips (think the infamous Maracas drive). However, it has been statistically proven time and time again that women are in fact safer drivers than men. Yet, the stereotype persists, contributing to a lot of discrimination towards female drivers from both male and female passengers alike.
“Driving is not only a man’s job. Many people don’t like it, but women can do anything a man can do. Now that this service is available, this presents another job that women can see themselves doing very easily without the assistance of a man. Plus, a lil extra $200+ can be used as a financial cushion to help young female entrepreneurs, like myself, reach for whatever they need to.”
This platform is simply proving to be a strong sisterhood of riders and drivers that is committed to creating a positive impact on a safe and secure platform. Each month Pink Cab donates $1 from each completed trip to one of the following charities to any woman in need.
NGOs for the Advancement of Women
Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago.
Mary Care Center
WINAD- Women’s Institute for Alternative Development
They also continue to host promotions that help to reduce prices for drivers. Men too can support the Pink Cab agenda, not just by recommending the app to the women in their lives but also by purchasing e-gift cards to give to women for secure, reliable trips.
The success of this app is not without its challenges. For instance, not having data or credit or access to a smartphone for the passengers or drivers results in many automatic safety and security in-APP features to be completed manually. Pink Cab hopes to collaborate with a local phone/internet company to assist both drivers and riders with access to data or Wi-Fi at all times to use Pink Cab for the best quality of service.
Pink Cab TT is very aware of that the issue of violence against women transcends Trinidad and Tobago. As such, there are plans to eventually expand their services to the wider Caribbean region. Let us know in the comments below which Caribbean island Pink Cab should journey to next.