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Transportation Apps for Women Become Popular in Brazil

Taxi driver Priscila Galante drives her car in a main street in Sao Paulo, Brazil October 10, 2017. Picture taken October 10, 2017. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
Transportation Apps for Women Become Popular in Brazil
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Private car services that work only with women are becoming more popular in Brazil due to concerns about safety.

One of the car services has a mobile app called FemiTaxi. It has more than 1,000 drivers giving some 20,000 rides per month. FemiTaxi has expanded into six Brazilian cities and may go to other Latin American markets.

A competing app, LadyDriver, launched in Sao Paulo in March. It has some 8,000 drivers and over 100,000 users. It plans to expand operations to Rio de Janeiro this month.

The rapid growth of these apps in cities such as Sao Paulo highlights the rising concerns about public safety in Brazil.

From August 2016 to August 2017, reports of crimes such as attempted rape rose by more than 10 percent in Sao Paulo state.

Well-known transportation companies, such as Uber, along with Spain's Cabify and 99, have also increased efforts to improve safety for drivers and passengers in Brazil this past year.

High-profile cases of sexual assault on public buses have drawn attention to the issue of violence against women.

Metros in the cities of Belo Horizonte and Recife have recently started female-only train cars. There have been female-only cars in Rio de Janeiro's trains for over a decade.

Gabriela Correa is the founder and CEO of LadyDriver. "I think the problem of sexual harassment in public transport always existed, but it wasn't discussed," she said. "Now women are standing up, taking initiatives like our own to seek safety."

Ride-hailing apps for female drivers and passengers are not unique to Brazil.

See Jane Go, an all-women transportation app, launched in the American state of California in 2016. A rival company, Safr, launched in the American city of Boston earlier this year.

I'm John Russell.

Taís Haupt reported on this story for Reuters. John Russell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

app – n. a computer program that performs a special function

highlight – v. to make or try to make people notice or be aware of (someone or something) : to direct attention to (someone or something)

sexual assault – n. illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent

initiative – n. a plan or program that is intended to solve a problem