Rideshare app headed to SF allows you to select driver's gender

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new rideshare company is headed to San Francisco this fall with a specific target audience in mind.

Safr's CEO says while anyone can use Safr's rideshare app, they expect to cater mostly to women who prefer female drivers.

RELATED: Lyft says man SFPD calls 'Rideshare Rapist' fraudulently represented himself

"We wanted a safe space for women," said Syed Gilani.

Commuter Cathy Cheung told us about her worst rideshare experience. "He was very flirty, got too close to me and then unwanted physical contact," said Cheung.

Cheung says she reported the driver.

Meantime, San Francisco police recently arrested a man they dubbed the Rideshare Rapist. SFPD says Orlando Vilchez Lazo raped four people between 2013 and 2018 by posing as a rideshare driver as his victims left nightclubs and bars downtown. Lyft says they deactivated Lazo's account.

RELATED: Union City police arrest Uber driver accused of sexually assaulting rideshare passenger

Last week, Union City police arrested an off duty Uber driver, Kevin Barillas-Saballos, who they say picked up a woman in July who had ordered a rideshare and mistakenly got in his car, then took her to her home and sexually assaulted her.

Safr not only lets riders request if they want a female driver, it also gives those female drivers a say as well.

"Women can make a choice who they want to pick up and who they don't want to pick up," said Gilani.

Safr says its drivers are background checked, its rides are real-time monitored and there's an SOS button on the app in case of emergencies.

RELATED: Uber wants to patent technology to detect drunk riders

Reaction to the new ridehare alternative depends on who you ask.

"I think it's a bit unnecessary," said Cleve Batten.

"I do prefer a female driver," said Verity Zoerner.

Cheung says she'll definitely consider it late at night.

"I'm all for it," said Cheung.

Safr is already in Boston, Orlando and Pakistan. San Francisco is one of several big cities slated for this fall.

Here's more information about the Safr app.

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