A Mitchells Plain community worker has launched her own female-only taxi service catering to women who fear male drivers.
Three years after launching her women’s-only driving school, Joanie Fredericks from Tafelsig is venturing into the transport industry.
Joanie, who is known for assisting victims of sexual crimes and feeding her community daily during the national lockdown, has launched the Ladies Own Transport Services (Lots).
“It was launched on 5 January, but has always been in the pipeline as the issue of violence against women on public transport has always been a huge issue,” she says.
“I always use my background to motivate my community projects. I am a rape survivor and I was raped three times in my life and I had a choice: I could lie and crawl in a corner or I could use my experience to be the activist I am now.”
In 2018, Joanie launched the driving school and to date the team has helped over 50 women successfully getting their driver’s licence.
She says the aim was to empower them to become independent and assist with job applications.
With the transport service, she has employed two moms as drivers and together the three of them offer an e-hailing service for women who want a safer option to travel.
She says after consulting with women who were sexually assaulted or harassed by male drivers, she thought female drivers would make them feel safer.
The trips are booked by calling or texting an agent who informs the passenger of the cost with the time of collection and Joanie says they charge lower rates than the major e-hailing services and do not charge extra during peak hours.
Within a week of launching, she was approached by a Mowbray couple who were so excited that they offered to buy a car for her fleet: “The couple have a 12-year-old daughter who attends school in Portlands. Their biggest problem was safe, reliable transport and they were worried about a male driver. They called me and said they would buy a car for us to use and we will collect their child in the morning and take her home in the afternoon. I was so amazed by this gesture.”
She says while the service is mainly for women, they do make an exception for male pensioners who are sick and frail.
If you would like to book a trip, call 074 500 1404.