A taxi company that includes women-only drivers has been set up in South London to ensure safe passage for women and children travelling alone in the area.
Fashade Agboola, 35, created her taxi firm, Annisa, with the intent that they would be able to provide a safe alternative for passengers who haven’t felt comfortable using traditional taxi companies in the past. Her firm, that launches this month, is marketed toward collecting women and children, and their main focus will revolve around picking up women travelling alone or school or nursery pickups. They’ll offer this service for children as young as two.
For the school services, a meeting between parent, child and driver or “guardian” will be arranged before the job, so that the children will always be driven by someone that is known and trusted by the family. In the case of an emergency, a trusted driver will be used rather than the ordinary driver so that parents don’t have to worry about children being left in the hands of a stranger. Many firms don’t take children under 16 while they are unaccompanied, which Agboola has noted as a problem for working mothers trying to make sure their children are arriving at school on time and safely.
All of the drivers in the firm will be CRB/DBS checked, as well as having health & safety training and a private hire vehicle licence regulated by TfL. The service will operate in Croydon, Sutton, Brixton and Streatham areas, and will also offer airport drop-offs for their passengers. Bookings will be able to be made online, over the phone or via the Annisa Cars app, and will offer many of the same services as typical cab companies.
Ms Agboola is currently recruiting her workforce while she also continues her work running a charity that helps women with health issues. Her idea for the company was inspired by her struggles with conventional taxi firms in the past, as she discussed her experience with issues allowing children to travel alone, as well as noting the discomfort that many women have mentioned feeling when travelling alone with a male driver.
Ms Agboola stated that her firm is about giving people more options for transport. She states that she isn’t “discriminating against men”, she just simply wants to ensure that there is another option for women travelling with taxis. Eventually, male drivers and passengers will be brought into the firm, but she insists upon male drivers for male passengers and female drivers for female passengers.
The significance of TfL’s refusal to renew Uber’s license brought on her idea, as she believes there could be a gap in the market for a taxi company that would make female passenger’s safety the priority in journeys. She intends to cover the whole of South London by the end of next year, and with the firm starting up later this month, we wouldn’t be surprised if she succeeds.