If you're a woman looking for a female cabbie, there's now an app for that.
SheTaxis is a recently launched start-up that connects female passengers with female drivers in the New York City area though an iPhone application. Within New York City limits, the company is called SheRides because the city regulates how the word "taxi" can be used in the name of a business.
One customer, Bianca Lacayo, said many benefits come along with being able to choose the gender of your driver, "Being with a woman driver gives you freedom. You know, if you need to change from business attire to evening wear, it's a 1-2-3 process."
The company's founder and president, Stella Mateo, got the idea when she discovered similar car services have flourished in places like India and South Africa and several Middle Eastern cities.
Mateo was also aware of the lack of gender diversity in the car service industry through her work as an advocate for drivers. Mateo and her husband, Fernando, started the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers 16 years ago; it's one of the state's largest organizations formed to support the needs of drivers.
In New York City there are 50,000 cab, livery and black car drivers, but only about 5 percent are women.
Mateo says the work is ideal for women who want to be in charge of their own schedule and get on the road when they can, so they can work around their family's agenda.
One of the company's drivers, Nancy, who didn't want to reveal her last name, is a single mother raising three daughters. She enjoys being her own boss and said it's a lucrative job, "It's amazing that you can make more money as a taxi driver than in your profession."
Nancy said some drivers make up to $2,000 in a busy week. She generally works eight-hour days six days a week. She's able to pay all of her bills and hopes to retire within 10 years.
Like Uber, Lyft and other car service applications, customers request a car using the app and pay with a credit card, with SheTaxis taking a small fee of the customer's payment. Technically, Nancy is in business for herself and not an employee of SheTaxis, but she chooses to work exclusively with the company because she says she likes having female passengers.
SheTaxis helps qualified applicants with the licensing process to become a driver and offers advice on obtaining a car, insurance and other essentials. An added perk; each driver is given a pink pashmina scarf to wear as a sort of uniform.