Trenelle Doyle knew the world needed a different kind of rideshare company when she picked up a couple of drunk men in Vancouver.
She was driving for Uber at the time and could tell right away her customers had been drinking. They were cracking lewd jokes and having obscene conversations with each other.
Doyle knew it was going to be a short trip, so she tried not to let it bother her. Then the men started asking her sexually explicit questions.
“It was in that moment when I felt unsafe,” she said.
Doyle was able to safely get the men out of her car. She reported the incident to Uber, but was disappointed by the lack of follow up. That’s when she hatched the idea of a rideshare company that was more focused on safety.
Doyle went on to found Go Girl Ride, which aims to provide safe rides for people from historically marginalized communities. She plans to launch the service in Portland this summer.
She spoke with OPB’s Geoff Norcross about her plans. Some highlights:
Geoff Norcross: How will you ensure that riders who use the service are genuinely interested in just a ride and a safe experience and aren’t going to get into your cars with bad intentions?
Trenelle Doyle: It’s obvious who our market is. Yes, we’re inclusive, but we are focused on safety.
Usually all you have to do with other companies — Uber, Lyft — you have to pass a basic background check and you have to be able to pass a generic vehicle inspection. That’s not enough for us. We want to do a vetting process. Not only that, but we have safety precautions that we’re putting in place when the rider gets into the car, just to make sure that we are picking up the correct person. And while we cannot control folks and what they do, we certainly will have cameras in our car as well. We’re making it very clear that the safety of both our rider and our driver is important.
Norcross: You mentioned how important this service would be for vulnerable populations. Who do you mean?
Doyle: Women. Femmes. Non-binary folks. Domestic violence survivors. We say that we’re focused on trauma-informed care. It’s being respectful of folks, regardless of what they look like, what their profession is, and what their situation is. Let’s be respectful of folks. I just feel like there are certain groups of people, whether it be sex workers, whether it be domestic violence survivors, whether it be BIPOC folks ... we all deserve safety.
Norcross: What has it been like to take this company from an idea that you had in your car to something this close to reality?
Doyle: It’s been amazing. I had this idea for years, and I sat on it because I’m one person, I’m not in the tech space. And so to move into a space where we’re preparing for our competition to be Uber and Lyft and all these other services...it’s wild! We get calls all the time about why this service is important and why it’s needed. It’s really emotional and it makes me emotional about how far we’ve come.
Click on audio player at the top of this story to hear the whole conversation.