A RIDE-SHARE app that connects female passengers with female drivers has been launched in Mildura.
Stay-at-home mum Naomi Ferguson has become the first locally based driver to be accredited with the Shebah app.
Similar to Uber, which is not available in Mildura, Shebah allows users to request a ride with their smartphone.
The app’s point of difference is that it caters for women only, particularly those who may feel vulnerable or uncomfortable using other services.
Primary school-aged children can also be passengers, while boys up to 18 can ride if accompanied by a female guardian.
Ms Ferguson was in Melbourne earlier this year when she was introduced to Shebah while taking a trip into the city with a friend.
She liked the concept and decided to go through the process of becoming a driver.
“I’ve got a bunch of young nieces and nephews and one of them is turning 18 and her friends sometimes worry about getting in with an unfamiliar person at night, and it’s just as simple as that,” she said.
“It’s got nothing to do with the taxi drivers themselves, it’s just about insecurities people have and how they feel.”
She said some women in Mildura may also have cultural reasons for preferring a female driver.
Those who want to drive with Shebah have to obtain accreditation, a hire car licence, a roadworthy certificate and a working with children check.
Ms Ferguson has completed the process and is ready to take her first fare.
She planned to drive passengers during evenings and on weekends.
“I can pretty much get on with my ordinary life,” she said.
“I can sit and watch TV in the evening and have the app on waiting for somebody to say ‘yeah, I need you to come’.”
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