A mum has launched a new taxi company that caters mostly for women – with only female drivers.
Sade Agboola set up the firm in a bid to make women feel safer will getting a lift in a taxi late a night or on the school run.
The only passengers that the all-female team of drivers at Annisa Cars will accept are women or children.
The 35-year-old feels that as Uber’s licence has not been renewed by Transport for London (TfL), there could be a gap in the market for a taxi company which makes the safety of female passengers a priority.
The mum-of-one from Croydon, south London, said: “The idea came from mine and the experiences of my friends and family. When travelling on London transport a lot of women feel uncomfortable.
“Sometimes a female on their own will be alone at after a night out and they just don’t feel safe in the taxi or mini cab. I have friends who are mums and feel uncomfortable using public transport or private hire firms.
“A lot of women are working or can’t afford a car so they need help and to feel safe at the same time.
“Working parents might need someone to pick up their kids from school and often mini cabs won’t take anyone under 16 or 18.
“Mini cab companies are often expensive and I heard stories of drivers smoking in the car and when somoene complains they are told to leave and get out of the car.
“There are quite a lot of assaults happening in mini cabs, I was shocked to find this out. These are drivers who have been checked and have all their documentation, but it still happens.
“Some women just don’t feel safe being driven be a man.”
Annisa Cars will drive passengers in Croydon, Sutton, Brixton and Streatham with the intention of covering the whole of south London by the end of next year.
Sade, who also runs a part-time hospital charity that helps women with health issues and counselling, said: “A lot of women use Uber because they feel safer, that’s the reason they use it.
“If it goes then there would be a big gap in the market the we could fill.
“There are also a lot of women drivers who work at Uber – they would definiatly be welcome here.
“We want to expand to more areas of south London and then to the rest of London it if goes well.
“We take some disabled people if we can as our cars are not adapted, and may take men in the future, but it would only be male driver staking men and female drivers taking women.”
Sade got her licence four months ago, and now has five drivers as well as 30 guardians who can look after children whose parents cannot pick them up from school.
All drivers will be CRB checked and have completed a health and safety course.
Sade added: “I did a lot of research in my area and discovered there really was a need for this service. I was surprised this hasn’t been catered for before.
“It’s not taken seriously enough, women or children should never have to feel unsafe or uncomfortable because of a driver.”