Safr is launching their ride-sharing app in the Washington, DC area, Maryland and Virginia. But what has this app making headlines is their claim to allow users select the gender of their driver or passenger. The company has already been operating in Boston since last year and boasts their safety check of requiring their drivers to complete a comprehensive background check is both criminal and motor history.
The press release claimed this service was created as a response to "recent sexual assault allegations on drivers of other ride-sharing companies." The release continues to claim that "every time you ride with Safr, you are helping to empower a like-minded driver and support women, children, animals and communities." "We want to make sure that everything we are doing, especially on the ride-sharing side of it, is that we are giving equal opportunities to women to become a part of the gig economy in the transportation sector," Safr chief executive Syed Gilani said Friday in an interview. "They can have equal opportunity to drive, and they can have equal opportunity to take a ride."
When Gilani was asked about the the legal implications of a public transportation business that allows people to select the gender of others in the vehicle, he responded that it's no different from a woman's asking for a female obstetrician, a female trainer at the public gym or a female security officer to conduct a pat-down at an airport checkpoint. "We are a platform. We are not forcing anybody to select anybody. We are not saying you need to do that or you must do that," Gilani continues. "We are saying this is an option on our platform with our technology."