<p>A person orders a taxi using their smartphone</p>

A person orders a taxi using their smartphone

Home Safe: New campaign will cover the cost of women and girls’ taxi fares

One in two women feel unsafe walking alone at night in a public place

Saman Javed
Tuesday 16 November 2021 14:13
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A new campaign is raising money to help women, girls and other vulnerable members of the public get home safely.

Home Safe aims to alleviate “the financial stress” for people who cannot afford to get a taxi home by refunding the cost of their trip.

From 1 December, members of the public who are short for money but choose to get an Uber, Bolt or other taxi home can apply for a refund of up to £10 per single trip.

Match Sienkiewicz, the London-based university student behind the campaign, said he hopes Home Safe will encourage people to take taxis instead of travelling via lesser-safe options, such as taking night buses or walking home.

Since launching the fundraiser on 2 November, he has raised £5,358 – the cost of approximately 535 refunds.

Sienkiewicz told The Independent he founded Home Safe after conversations with female friends highlighted that many of them felt unsafe walking home but opted not to take a taxi because of the cost.

“I started Home Safe because I felt like there was a real absence of men talking about women’s safety,” he said.

“Around the time of Sarah Everard’s disappearance, a lot of my girl friends were talking about it and sharing things online, but there was shockingly little support from the male community.

“I knew that while there wasn’t a solution, there was definitely steps we could take in the right direction. As a young lad myself, I felt a responsibility to do something about it.”

In September, Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens was sentenced to a whole-life term in prison for the kidnap, rape and murder of Everard. Everard was kidnapped by Couzens in March while walking home from a friend’s house.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, one in two women feel unsafe when walking alone after nightfall in a busy public place. Of the 16,112 adults surveyed, one in five men said they felt unsafe walking alone after dark in public.

Sienkiewicz said that while Home Safe is aimed towards women and girls, the service is open to “anyone that needs it”.

“It’s for anyone of any age or gender who is worried about getting home safe and is struggling, and can’t afford to get an Uber,” he said, speaking of his own experience.

“I used to work a bar job when I was younger, and I used to walk home because the cost of the taxi journey was twice the amount of what I would earn in an hour.

“I used to take that unsafe journey home a lot. Now we want to help as many people as we possibly can.”

Members of the public will be able to claim a refund for a taxi journey through the Home Safe website once it launches in December.

Users will be required to fill out a form with their details and upload a copy of their Uber, Bolt or other taxi receipts. It is available to anyone in England.

Last week, Uber increased the base fare for journeys from £2.50 to £2.75, while per-minute and per-mile rates have risen by 10 per cent.

Following the news, rival ride-hailing app Bolt has announced that it will give its drivers the option to set their own prices for journeys in a bid to reduce waiting times and cancellations.

Increases to taxi fares may mean that some users do not have enough funds to pay for a taxi journey at the time of booking.

Home Safe said it is currently working towards creating a team of volunteer phone operators who will be able to book taxis on behalf of people who cannot afford to book themselves.

You can donate to the Home Safe campaign here.

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