Illawarra women get behind the wheel for new rideshare app Shebah

Women drivers: Shebah driver Kirsty Hinton with her daughter Jessie Hinton-Moore. The all-women rideshare service has started in the Illawarra. Picture: Sylvia Liber
Women drivers: Shebah driver Kirsty Hinton with her daughter Jessie Hinton-Moore. The all-women rideshare service has started in the Illawarra. Picture: Sylvia Liber

A rideshare service targeting women and children has launched on the NSW South Coast.

Australian company Shebah is a rideshare company that only employs female drivers and will give rides to women and children in the Illawarra.

Men are also allowed to use the service, provided they are travelling with a partner and child.

Kirsty Hinton is co-ordinating Shebah in the Illawarra.

"I've just relocated from Sydney in December and I've decided as a Shebah rider to become a Shebah driver and bring it down to the Illawarra," Ms Hinton said.

She said Shebah addressed the safety concerns women had about getting into a taxi or other rideshare providers late at night.

"It's about women reclaiming the front seat, being confident and preferring to travel with a female driver," Ms Hinton said.

At this stage there are nine Shebah drivers operating in the Illawarra, all of which are required to pass working with children and police checks before they can use the platform.

It works similar to other rideshare services; a user downloads an app and then can book a ride.

It's about women reclaiming the front seat, being confident and preferring to travel with a female driver.

Shebah's Kirsty Hinton

Ms Hinton said men have been using the app to book rides for their partners and children. If they booked one for themselves, the driver would not allow the rider to enter the car when they arrived at the pick-up point.

Ms Hinton said Shebah was the only rideshare service that carried child car seats and booster seats. While it is legal for children over a year old to ride in taxis without the appropriate car seat, some parents still choose to bring their own with them.

"I've picked up two women in the Illawarra who have said they'd had to carry their own car seats," Ms Hinton said.

"They said they needed to because they had to get their kids into an Uber. One lady said the Uber driver cancelled the trip because they wouldn't take them with a child."

Because drivers have working with children checks Ms Hinton said they can take unaccompanied minors.

"If mum and dad are stuck in a meeting and they can't get to pick their children up, they can contact us and we can take them to the dance school or the swimming school," she said.

"We won't just drop them outside, we would walk the children in."