Safr, ride sharing for women, rolls out in Boston

Actress and women’s empowerment spokeswoman Alex Kapp, above, will serve Safr as a brand ambassador.

BOSTON—Safr, an innovative new ride-sharing platform for women, today announced the premiere of an invitation-only launch in Boston, with a broader consumer roll out in the Boston market planned for March 1, and market introductions in major U.S. cities to come later this year.

As a service connecting female drivers exclusively with female riders, Safr’s mission is to empower women to participate more fully in the ride-sharing economy.

Since its debut, the ride-sharing economy has rapidly transformed into an $9 billion industry that has experienced unprecedented annual growth, yet women currently account for fewer than one-quarter of drivers on existing ride-sharing platforms and make on average 34 percent less than their male counterparts. Furthermore, fewer women use ride-sharing services as passengers.

“While the flexible schedule and added income would be a great option for many women, they have been reluctant to become ride-sharing drivers because of their concerns about safety,” says Stephanie Sonnabend, former CEO and president of Sonesta Hotels, co-founder of 2020 Women on Boards and Safr board member, in a statement. “Safr wants to change the paradigm in ride-sharing with a platform of women driving women, creating a safe and empowering opportunity for all women.”

With the goal of “empowering its drivers,” Safr says it will offer an equity program, with drivers gaining an increased stake in the company commensurate with their hours of driving and number of driver referrals, relative to their fellow drivers. Safr also says it will offer their first 1,000 drivers a 10 percent company commission lock rate for life, less than half the commission rate for other ridesharing companies.

Safr also says it plans to offer financial planning and other services to drivers “that will further empower them to maximize their financial freedom,” according to this afternoon’s release.

Safr addresses the vulnerability of both passengers and drivers with safety features including a prominent SOS button for both passengers and drivers, a color matching feature that helps passengers and drivers confirm they have connected with the right person before initiating a ride, and a command center that tracks rides in real-time to guard against deviation from a designated route. Safr also says it plants conduct “the most thorough and comprehensive driver background checks as are permitted by law.”

Additionally, Safr says it plans to give back to the communities it serves by donating a portion of proceeds to charitable organizations of importance to its community of drivers and passengers.

Safr has recruited L.A.-based actresses Alex Kapp and Tricia O’Kelley, who starred on CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine, to serve as ambassadors for the brand. As heads of Client Engagement and Experience, Kapp and O’Kelley will represent Safr to external constituencies, educate new drivers and passengers about the service through video content and inform the brand user experience. Both single mothers of two daughters, the actresses are advocates for safety and empowerment.

“We are thrilled to be a part of empowering women to take full advantage of the income-generating opportunities and convenient travel that ride-sharing can offer,” says Kapp in a statement. “Safr eliminates some of the sense of unease women may feel using existing platforms, and provides drivers and passengers a sense of community unmatched by other apps.”

The concept, which has evolved from Chariot for Women to Safr, has been in the research and development phase, focused on the development of the leadership team, app features and driver benefits to bring to market.

The new platform will be available for download in the App Store and Google Play the beginning of next week, and is available for use via invitation only until March 1. For more information on becoming a Safr driver, email community@gosafr.com