See Jane Go live today

Ride hailing services aimed at women drivers and passengers are a small but growing niche. See Jane Go is officially up and running today; drivers and passengers can download the app on iOS or Android to get started. SafeHer will be launching in Boston this fall with plans to expand to four cities soon after.

In reporting on See Jane Go and SafeHer (the ride hailing service known briefly as Chariot for Women) earlier this year, I found that women are uncomfortable as both drivers and riders using the bigger ride hailing services like Uber and Lyft. The idea of picking up or riding with a random guy seems less than safe to a lot of women.

See Jane Go is addressing this issue by designing the service for women and those who identify as women. CEO Kimberly Toonen said in an earlier interview, “All drivers submit an application with their driver’s license, and we use that to validate gender. Whatever they’ve self-identified as there” is good enough. And men can use the service in the company of a woman who vouches for them.

Riders can mark drivers as favorites in the See Jane Go app, and vice versa. The service’s algorithm then pairs favorites together more often. This fosters more than mere friendliness; one of the company’s goals is to create a networking space for women as they use the service. “We’re trying to encourage a back-and-forth — sharing resources, networking, and advice,” said Toonen.

Though the service is only live in Orange County, California, today, it is encouraging women across the country to sign up. The press release announcing the launch noted the company’s “aggressive plans to expand nationwide,” and cities with lots of potential users will help shape those expansion plans.