A new taxi service for and by women rolled out in New York City last week, aimed mostly at providing a sense of safety to females of all ages.
It operates via app, called SheTaxi, which locates taxis with a woman behind the wheel in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island.
The drivers wear pink scarves to be easily identified.
“My goal is to create an industry for women, to empower women personally and financially,” said Stella Mateo to Fox News Latino. “As a female I feel safer with a female. As a mother of two females, when my daughters go out I feel much safer, much more comfortable [when they are] with a female driver.”
While safety is a strong reason behind the all-female car service, Mateo explained that SheTaxi also looks to provide a service to women who for religious reasons cannot get in a cab – Hassidic Jews and Muslim, for instance.
In New York City, less than 3 percent of the115,000 licensed taxi, livery and limousine drivers are women.
SheTaxi, called SheRides in New York City, has been two years in the making. It will be available for the iPhone initially, and an Android version is in the works. There also are plans to expand to other cities.
Passengers pay their fare through the app using a credit or debit card. The drivers are independent contractors, and 100 women have signed up as drivers so far, Mateo said at a news conference last week.
However, as Taxi and Limousine Commission regulations prohibit for-hire car services from refusing customers, Mateo said female drivers registered with her app are free to pick up anyone they want; the app merely helps women who are looking for female drivers.
Stella Mateo’s husband, Fernando Mateo, is founder of the industry group New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers.
Mateo also hopes the app will spur more women to join the profession.
"We're not looking to take over the industry, we're just looking to raise the number," Mateo said.
One of the enrolled drivers is Dinorah De Cruz, 64, who welcomes the opportunity to remain active after retirement.
“I will be very happy to get up every morning, go out to work and I am asking all women to join us,” she told FNL.
As for the service, she praised it, saying that now women in the Big Apple can feel secure at any time ... with a an additional plus: “If she is late for her job she can even get dressed in the back of the car. With a man they wouldn’t be able to do it,” she noted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.