Tafelsig boasts women-owned transport services and driving school started by community activist

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Tafelsig community activist Joanie Fredericks launched the Ladies Own Transport Services – an initiative to empower women. 

She has been dedicated to feeding her community, who were adversely affected by the national lockdown and lack of efficient social relief by the government and boldly addressing other social ills. She talks to VK about the motivation behind this entrepreneurial initiative.

“We are a new 100% women’s owned transport services company that cares about empowering women drivers in underprivileged communities to improve access to meaningful jobs for women in the transport industry,” the Facebook page reads. Below she answers more regarding the services available.

• What is Ladies Own Transport?

Ladies Own Transport Services is a 100% women’s owned Enterprise. We currently provide two services with many more in store:

1. Ladies Own Driving School for Women
2. Ladies Own Ride Sharing Club

The Ladies Own Ride Sharing Club is not an Uber or Taxi service it is, in essence, a community project designed to protect, empower and mobilise against gender-based violence. We have experienced an explosion in demand for our services and are preparing to increase our fleet and pool of trained drivers. Increasing demand has pushed us to expand our travel routes and we are already operating outside of our current travel area, Mitchells Plain.

• What led you to start the service?

I am a Gender Activist and for many years deeply concerned about women’s safety on public transport. In fact, I myself am a rape survivor and endured sexual assault. So, for me it is a deeply personal issue.

Ladies Own Ride Sharing Club is about the right of women to decide for themselves what service they want to choose to travel safely from one point to the next. We are presenting a niche market in that there are plenty of taxis and other modes of public transport. Our service caters for those that specifically select the safe, lady driver option at a cost. We are offering an exclusive service to women and other vulnerable members of society to be looked after while making use of their transport of choice.

We have amongst other factors, identified the terrible reality that too many women are terrified to use something that should be openly available – a safe ride without constantly having to sit ready to jump out a moving vehicle that veers off the route she knows it should travel on and it’s not. It is about safety and it’s about peace of mind and enjoyment of the experience.

• How many drivers do you currently have and how are people able to make a booking?

We currently have 3 female drivers. We have dedicated agents that are ready and available to accept calls, SMS and WhatsApp bookings. Cyndi can be reached for bookings on any of the following numbers: +27 72 051 4073 alternatively +27 65 660 3484.

• What are the service’s operating hours?

We are available at any time during the Covid-19 curfew hours and the latest booking can be made at 9pm.

• Where is the furthest that Ladies Own drives?

We are currently unable to satisfy short trips in Upper Northern suburbs (Eerstrivier, Kuilsriver etc) Atlantic Seaboard (Camps Bay, Sea Point etc) South Peninsula (Ocean View, Hout Bay etc). Should the trip be booked from Mitchell’s Plain we are very happy to book and service.

• You also offer learner’s and driver’s classes to women in Tafelsig, what has the response been like?

The incredibly positive feedback and responses from all over the country. What is heartwarming is the many positive responses from men too as many husbands and fathers encourage their female family to come to us for learner classes and Driving Lessons. We have an incredibly good reputation of excellent quality driver learner training and are ranked very high amongst learners and other driving schools.

• What are your future plans for Ladies Own Transport?

My plans are to create a unique niche market specific to the safety of women and expand across Africa. Large-scale job creation for women is a very important priority of Ladies Own Transport Services and we will lay the foundation and be the footprint of safe transport for all women, young and old.

The empowerment issue is crucial in every aspect of our business and our learner classes and driving lessons are facilitated in such a way that every experience is a personal breakthrough whether with nervousness, fear of driving or general self-worth. We are offering an exclusive service aimed at upliftment, empowerment and safety and comfort at the heart of our values.

The Joanie Fredericks story is also available in the first edition of Vroumens.