Denise Tan's Riding Pink platform was inspired after her relative was robbed whilst taking public transport

Malaysian entrepreneur Denise Tan has created a platform called Riding Pink that offers safer taxi rides for women.

Tan, 30, was inspired to create her platform after hearing horror stories about female friends and family who were harassed on public transport.

“A female relative was robbed some years ago while taking public transportation.”

“Friends also told me they would receive calls and text from public transport drivers and were harassed as they had their contact number.”

“So all these sneaky looks, sensitive questions and outright stares are big factors that played a part for me to come up with this idea to protect women,” she said in an interview, adding that Riding Pink created more job opportunities for women.”

Tan is a stay at home mother and said that providing this service gave her flexibility to juggle commitment while earning an extra income.

Women are able to prebook their ‘Pink Ride’ by sending personal messages to Riding Pink’s Facebook page.

“But they wanted to choose their passengers and preferred women,” said Tan, “Most full-time jobs require us to be in the office the whole day. For a mother, it is a little difficult due to separation anxiety and family commitments while some would have left the workforce for some time and found it difficult to get a job after that.”

Riding Pink began recruiting female drivers in September 2016 through Facebook. The platform was officially launched on Oct 10.

“The response has been overwhelming from the public. From Nov 21 to 27, we recorded about 100 trips,” Tan said, “Meanwhile, recurring trips on weekdays of those going to school and work is also increasing.”

Riding Pink driver Elina said the job gives her flexibility as a mother.

“We have 60 full-time drivers and 40 part-time drivers who would drive after work and on weekends,” Tan said.

Some drivers even transport schoolchildren to and from school.

“Some parents will request for the same driver to pick up their children. If they fix every Wednesday at 1pm and if the driver is agreeable we will book that slot for her.” “If the driver has urgent matters, we will find a replacement for her.”

“Firstly, we will either get a message via personal message to Riding Pink’s Facebook or through Whatsapp asking for a ride. Then we will ask for the pick-up and drop-off points and get back to them with a fare.”

When a customer confirms the ride, their details will be sent to the driver and the driver’s details will be sent to the customer.

Requirements for the drivers include having a valid driving licence and ensuring the car their car is no more than nine years old and is insured.

Tan said her service differs from Uber and GrabCar, “we wouldn’t say we are the same. They provide on-the-spot services whereas we offer pre-booking services. We appreciate our riders sending in their requests a day before but sometimes we get a request five hours before. We will try our best to match a driver to them.”