A new ride ser­vice cater­ing to women and chil­dren is gen­er­at­ing a lot of buzz. AU­DREY VIJAINDREN finds out more about Ladies Only Rid­ers and Driv­ers

New Straits Times - - News -

FE­MALE pas­sen­gers of­ten feel un­safe trav­el­ling in taxis or ride hail­ing ser­vices. Clutch­ing their hand­bags from the mo­ment they step in­side, they make sure the doors are not locked while mak­ing a men­tal note of the ve­hi­cle’s reg­is­tra­tion num­ber.

Ladies Only Rid­ers and Driver, or LORD, is set up pri­mar­ily to of­fer com­fort and safety for fe­male pas­sen­gers, said its founder Jass Gill, 38.

“Nat­u­rally, women are more com­fort­able with fe­male driv­ers. Since we have seat al­lo­ca­tion for ladies on buses and train coaches, as well as des­ig­nated park­ing bays for fe­male driv­ers, I de­cided maybe it is time for women to have the choice of hir­ing lady driv­ers,” she said.

“We started less than 10 months ago, but we al­ready have 80 driv­ers, and the num­ber is grow­ing steadily.

“We cover the en­tire Klang Val­ley, as well as Perak, Me­laka, Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, Jo­hor Baru and Pe­nang. We also have driv­ers in Kuch­ing and Kota Kinabalu. On oc­ca­sion, we also of­fer long-dis­tance trips such as from Ipoh to Langkawi, or Kuala Lumpur to Muar.”

She said their “women and chil­dren only ser­vice” is fast gain­ing in pop­u­lar­ity, adding that more than 2,500 peo­ple had reg­is­tered with the com­pany.

“We al­low pre-booked trips three days in ad­vance, with no ad­di­tional charge, and our fares are rea­son­able.”

LORD also al­lows its driv­ers to keep 100 per cent of the fares they earn.

The com­pany started when a group of fe­male fam­ily mem­bers and their friends de­cided to earn ex­tra in­come by driv­ing only women pas­sen­gers.

“Through word-of­mouth, more peo­ple found out about us. Eventually, more peo­ple ex­pressed their in­ter­est to be­come driv­ers.”

Gill said the com­pany prac­tised a strict screen­ing process for its driv­ers.

“Our driv­ers must be a MyKad holder with a valid driv­ing li­cence. They should own ve­hi­cles with valid road tax and in­sur­ance, and the reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles must not be older than seven years.”

Pas­sen­gers are re­quired to join LORD’s Face­book group: Ladies Only Rid­ers & Driv­ers (L.O.R.D), and make their pre-book­ings three days in ad­vance (last­minute re­quests can be con­sid­ered,

based on avail­abil­ity of ve­hi­cles).

Stay-at-home-mum and part­time skin­care dis­trib­u­tor Loo Joo Ann, 39, from Shah Alam signed up as a driver out of cu­rios­ity.

“I’ve al­ways won­dered what it felt like to be an Uber driver, but was afraid to try be­cause of safety con­cerns. I joined af­ter dis­cov­er­ing LORD’s Face­book page,” she said.

A mother of two, Loo said she now had regular pas­sen­gers, some of whom were her friends.

“I’m proud to be able to help women and chil­dren get to their des­ti­na­tions safely and com­fort­ably. At the same time, I can help

sup­ple­ment my fam­ily’s in­come.

“Most of the time, my pas­sen­gers and I talk about chil­dren. We of­ten share tips on cer­tain things, so the jour­ney has been won­der­ful.”

Busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tor Ki­ran Gill, 36, who is a driver and part of LORD’s man­age­ment team, reg­u­larly holds pro­grammes with the mem­bers to help the com­pany grow.

As a driver, she counted the ex­pe­ri­ence of driv­ing Puan Sri Brigitte Yusuff, mother of ra­dio per­son­al­ity Datuk Yas­min Yusuff as one of her best mo­ments.

“An­other in­ter­est­ing drive for me was when I had to de­liver a Mickey Mouse cake top­per! That was def­i­nitely my cutest ‘pas­sen­ger’ so far.”

She said her fam­ily had been very sup­port­ive.

“My fa­ther has been my pil­lar of strength. He feels that the fe­male-only taxi ser­vice is a good idea,” she said.

Hav­ing used the ser­vice more than 15 times, a 45-year-old lawyer, who only wanted to be known as Michelle, said she ini­tially had doubts about the ser­vice.

“But now, I am their regular pas­sen­ger. From my ex­pe­ri­ence, the driv­ers are al­ways on time, the cars are clean and the rides pleas­ant.”

She said Jass also did her best to find a driver with a suitable car re­gard­less of the oc­ca­sion (mul­ti­pur­pose ve­hi­cles were of­ten re­quested).

“I ap­pre­ci­ate this ser­vice and I’ve rec­om­mended it to many of my girl­friends and fe­male fam­ily mem­bers,” she said.

Jass Gill

The all-women LORD team ready to drive you to your des­ti­na­tion.

LORD driver Ki­ran Gill is proud to be able to make women and chil­dren feel safe, com­fort­able and happy.

Mother-of-two and LORD driver Loo Joo Ann en­joys talk­ing about chil­dren with pas­sen­gers.

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