CHARLTON, Mass. -- In just a matter of weeks a ride-share service for women and children only is coming to Connecticut and launching all over the country.
It’s called Chariot For Women and the drivers will also be women only. The idea was started by Michael Pelletz, of Massachusetts. The former Uber driver says he feared for his wife and two daughters’ safety.
“It's all about safety and we can't play any games,” Pelletz said. He reflected on his time as an Uber driver and said he once called police for help and then quit a short time later.
“[The passenger would] say take left, pass out for ten minutes, take a right, pass out for ten minutes, and I started to get nervous,” said Pelletz. “Imagine, if this were my wife or a woman? I was scared. How would they be able to handle this?”
Weeks later, he came up with his business: women drivers only, women and children passengers only, including boys under 13. He started spreading the word on social media and couldn't believe the response.
Pelletz said he has interest from “hundreds of drivers nationwide and international from Canada to Hawaii to Alaska.”
Once you download the app, you register by typing in basic information and a payment method, credit card or PayPal. Then, you will be asked number of passengers and car seats, and even which charity you would like to donate to. Two percent of each fare goes to one of ten charities on a list.
Pelletz said what really sets his app apart from Uber or other ride-sharing services is the safety code.
“Before you get into that chariot, they have to confirm with you or validate that safe code.”
As soon as Julie Kleszczynski heard about Chariot For Women, she contacted Pelletz and became a driver.
“I have a daughter, a freshman. She will be in college soon and she could use this service and feel safe,” Kleszczysnski said. She, like all of his drivers undergo strict background checks.
So will there be any exceptions to the “women and children only” rule?
“We're not just gonna turn someone down who's dying on the side of the road or needs help," he said. "If you identify as a woman, you're more than welcome to drive for us, ride with us.”
If anyone accuses him of discrimination, Pelletz adds, he and his attorney are fully prepared to discuss. He expects this service to be up and running in a matter of weeks.