AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Friday, RideAustin is adding a feature to its ridesharing app which allows all premium customers to choose a female driver.
It is one of two features being rolled out simultaneously. The other is a live ETA function where a rider can share real-time tracking of their trip with a friend or family member through the app.
Chief Operating Officer Marisa Golderberg tells KXAN both are safety measures, and customer requests were the driving force.
“Occasionally we’ll get feedback from a female rider that late at night, you know, getting in a car with a stranger — they just feel more comfortable with a female driver,” said Goldenberg.
Some on social media are questioning why the app allows a man to choose a female driver as well. James, who drives for RideAustin found out about the change when customers received the information. He is concerned he will receive fewer requests for rides after undergoing extensive fingerprint and background checks along with a lengthy interview process to ensure he is a safe driver.
Goldenberg believes the move will add new customers, not take away from existing ones.
“There might be a small portion of the population that doesn’t using ridesharing today because maybe they have those lingering doubts in their head late at night. And despite all the safety mechanisms we have in place those women simply may feel more comfortable with a female driver, so we think we’re going to be adding new riders to the population,” said Goldenberg.
The feature is currently only available for customers who select the premium and luxury classes.