Lady Drive-Her is a new airport taxi service run by women for female passengers

Crissy McDow, front centre, and some of the Lady Drive-Her team in Halifax. ‘Some women feel more comfortable … being driven by a woman, so we wanted to provide that service,’ McDow says about the new Halifax service by and for women. (Steve Berry/CBC)

Halifax’s newest airport car service has all-women drivers, a memorable name and number, and even a jingle.

But Lady Drive-Her, which targets female passengers, is also driving into opposition from some male drivers.

Longtime airport driver Crissy McDow started the new company last week after talking to other female drivers who agree there’s a demand for this type of business.

“Some women feel more comfortable … being driven by a woman, so we wanted to provide that service,” said McDow.

‘They just want to sit and look on the phone’

Limo driver Teresa Wannamaker said she’s excited to offer women an option.

“I see where women feel more comfortable talking about women things to other women,” she said from behind the wheel.

“Sometimes they just want to sit and look on the phone, they don’t have to talk at all.”

Lady Drive-Her is starting up just months after a city taxi driver was acquitted of sexually assaulting a female passenger. The acquittal, which drew national headlines, is being appealed.

While CBC was interviewing the female drivers in a parking lot at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport, a vehicle with male airport drivers pulled up with their critique.

Reverse discrimination claim

“Once you say you’re women drivers and you can choose us, you’re kind of encouraging them to be discriminatory against men,” said Lucien Jebailey, a limousine driver.

Fellow limo driver Rick Watts said at first he was in support of Lady Drive-Her, but now he’s not sure.

Lucien Jebailey, left, and Rick Watts are worried an all-women car service drives home the wrong message. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

“I couldn’t start a white male, for instance, limo service. [Lucien] couldn’t have a Middle Eastern service only,” said Watts.

McDow told the male drivers she’s simply expanding her business to meet a need.

“I don’t want to take any of my men off the road,” she said. “I don’t want to discriminate against any of you — that’s not what we’re doing.”

Jebailey and Watts also said they’re concerned the company exploits fear among some women.

“You might be sending the wrong message to the consumer saying it’s OK to be afraid of male drivers, you can come ride with us,” said Jebailey.

Wannamaker disputed that.

‘We have no problem with men drivers’

She said her goal is to spread the word that there’s an alternative.

Among the airport’s 200 licensed drivers, 10 are females — they’re now part of Lady Drive-Her. Like other airport cabs and limousines, Lady Drive-her charges the standard $63 flat rate.

Women passengers “still will get in a man’s car because that is the norm, and there’s nothing wrong with that,” said Wannamaker.

“We have no problem with men drivers…. We’re just trying to advertise that women have a second option.”

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