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New ride-hailing service coming to Boston caters only to women

Chariot for Women’s founder, Michael Pelletz, and president, Kelly Pelletz.
Chariot for Women’s founder, Michael Pelletz, and president, Kelly Pelletz. (Carly Gillis/Chariot for Women)

A Massachusetts-based startup is aiming to launch a ride-hailing service where all the drivers — and customers — are women.

Chariot for Women, the brainchild of a former Uber driver in the Boston area, aims to launch its women-based driving service nationwide on April 19.

“Chariot was born to ensure safety, comfort and pleasure as well as giving back to female-focused charities and foundations through our transportation services,” the company’s website states, adding that a percentage of profits will be given back to women’s foundations.

Founder Michael Pelletz came up with the idea after picking up a passenger who made him feel unsafe.

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“One thought kept coming up in his head: ‘What if I was a woman?’” the company’s website states. “Just one bad apple behind the wheel, and those women would not be safe at all. 3 a.m. in Boston is a candy store for predators.”

In an e-mail to the Globe, Pelletz said Chariot for Women fares would be comparable to competitors like Uber and Lyft, but without the surge pricing.

He said he was hoping to employ 1,000 drivers by launch, but after an “overwhelming response,” that number has climbed to 4,000.

Based in Charlton, Mass., Pelletz said he plans for Chariot for Women to “have offices very soon in every major city across the country.”

The service’s launch comes as services like Uber and Lyft are under scrutiny for myriad reasons, including safety.

Boston police were investigating two separate assaults this past weekend that they say involved assailants masquerading as ride-sharing drivers.

In February, a former Uber driver was convicted in Boston of assaulting a 21-year-old woman while she was a passenger in his vehicle.