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Contxto – Here’s a gutsy move for you: bringing a ride-hailing app into Colombia on the eve of Uber’s January 31 departure. Argentine Sara LT made this maneuver about a month ago after it launched a call for female drivers to register for its ride-sharing app. The twist? This one is exclusive for women and children.
There is no specified date for the app’s release into the Colombian market. In addition, Sara LT reportedly also plans to expand into Guatemala, Uruguay, and Peru as well.
Related article: Colombia kicks ride-hailing Uber and Picap to the illegal curb
From Argentina to Colombia and beyond?
Like other female-driven ride-hailing apps, its core belief is that female passengers feel safer when there’s a woman at the wheel. Likewise, it waves the flag of empowerment, financial independence, and job flexibility for its female employees.
You know, that speech everyone seems to bleat nowadays. But the real problem is more deeply rooted in social practices and general culture towards women.
Hold your ride-hailing horses
Judging from all the countries in Latin America Sara LT wants to reach, it has some considerable growth plans ahead.
But with recent debacles related to voracious growth from the likes of Colombian Rappi or Lime, isn’t it best to wait things out, consolidate in a market, and then make plans to move out?
Moreover, a quick dive into its reviews on Google Play Store shows that the application has a rating of 2.5 stars out of 5, from a total of 664 reviews. Of the seven reviews shown, one is phony but the other six mention the app malfunctioning and even crashing.
These numbers might not be the best letter of introduction into other markets.
Nonetheless, things do look a little more optimistic on the startup’s Facebook page with a 4.4 rating out of 5, albeit amongst only 20 reviewers. It’s a matter of seeing how they do these coming months.
Related article: Ride-hailing 99 launches campaign to get more women behind the wheel
A persistent problem
Everyone wants female drivers because there’s an underlying problem with women being harassed on the streets. And I agree, as a woman, I certainly do feel safer when my Uber or Didi driver is female.
But these short-fixes don’t solve the real problem of making women feel safe. What does bring me a bit of relief is how startups for women are shining the spotlight on these issues. A little awareness can, in the long run, go a long way.