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This Melbourne woman made $32,000 driving a women-only rideshare car

Shebah driver Shannon Montgomery. (image: supplied)
Shebah driver Shannon Montgomery. (image: supplied)

A Melbourne woman has revealed she earned $32,000 after driving part time for a year on the women-only rideshare service Shebah, allowing her to quit her day job.

Shannon Montgomery said that she made that amount between February last year and last month, initially driving as a side gig then quitting her day job in October.

“What I love most about being a Shebah driver, is the sense of community – providing an essential service – and the connections with passengers,” she told Yahoo Finance.

Shebah is an app for ridesharing – like Uber – but with exclusively women drivers picking up only women and underage passengers.

The company, since starting public operations on International Women’s Day in 2017, has grown its customer base by 190 per cent year-on-year, with the network expanding from Melbourne to Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Adelaide and Perth – with driver recruitment now taking place in Darwin.

Shebah’s drivers must pass Working with Children checks and can access information on superannuation, GST management and insurance.

Not enough drivers

After quitting her ‘9 to 5’ job in October, Montgomery has slightly stepped up the hours, but still does not work a full time load, allowing her time for other priorities.

“I stepped up my driving to 30 to 35 trips per week on average, leading up to the Christmas/New Year period and since returning from Europe at the beginning of February,” she said.

“This equates to approximately 25 to 30 hours per week.”

Even though the platform is heading towards 3,000 drivers in Australia, passenger demand far outnumbers the amount of drivers roaming around – meaning Shebah founder George McEncroe herself has sometimes driven to help with supply.

“A lot of people still don’t seem to understand what it’s like for women to travel in other rideshares or taxis and feel the kind of fear a man would never feel,” said McEncroe.

“If women are coming home late, they don’t know the city they’re in very well, or have had a few drinks, they still have the right to get home safely and without feeling dread or fear.”

The joys of driving on a women-only rideshare

Montgomery said she’s saving her earnings to buy a parcel of land to construct a modular shipping container house.

But the interactions with passengers make everyday interesting – like the morning when she met a rider hosting a women’s business breakfast.

“As she stepped out of the car, I asked her for a business card. As it turned out, she’s a director of a not-for-profit organisation that provide small loans up to $3000 to people on low incomes requiring finance,” she said.

“This was the same organisation I’d approached four months prior and successfully obtained a ‘Step Up’ loan to assist me in upgrading my car to commence Shebah driving.”

Shebah is now aiming to raise $3 million through equity crowdfunding, allowing ordinary folks to become a part-owner in the company – an idea that Montgomery herself put forward.

“I am looking to personally invest in the company. I’d posed the question in a driver survey response which HQ distributed last year, and hey presto – here we are!”

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