‘Getting Home From A Night Out As A Woman Is Getting Scarier Each Week’

Women getting home from a night out are increasingly faced with a choice between expensive Ubers and unreliable night buses - neither of which feel like a safe option any more. Why is women's safety still at the bottom of everyone's priority list?

Woman taxi

by Aaliyah Harry |
Updated on

‘Aaliyah, could you do me a favour.’ I froze, ‘What are you talking about? ’I looked up from my phone and at my Uber driver. ‘I just really need to go toilet, so could I just stop off at this carpark.’ I replied firmly, ‘No - we are literally 10 minutes away from my destination, I’m in a rush and I have to go.’ He ignored me. ‘I promise it will be two minutes.’ He quickly turned into a quiet car park, jumped out the car and locked the door.

In that moment I knew I should have got out of the car or said, ‘Let me out NOW.’ I don’t know why I didn’t, the words just didn’t come out. A million thoughts were rushing through my mind whilst sitting in that quiet car park about what could happen in the next few minutes. Was this a set up? Would he come back? What do I do? I instantly messaged the friends I was about to meet, and they demanded to know my live location, his number plate and to stay on the phone line.

It might not seem like a lot, but his language especially asking for a favour instantly sent me into panic mode. We’re not friendly, we are strangers so he should have kept it professional. Over familiarity in these situations makes anyone, but especially women feel uncomfortable.

After almost 10 minutes he did come back to the car. He hopped in, turned to me, and said, ‘Alright?’ with a stupid grin, like nothing had happened. I ignored him. Why would he understand the fear I felt in that moment? He could never understand what it feels like as a lone woman sitting in that car, fearful of what was going to happen next.

The rest of my taxi journey was uneventful and I thankfully arrived home unscathed. That was this weekend, but since lockdown restrictions lifted this summer, planning how to get home from every night out has felt like an ordeal. Rising demand and a dearth of drivers have made Ubers expensive and unreliable, and with the night Tube yet to re-open post Covid, I've found myself having to decide between spending between £50 and £60 on an Uber home or praying that the hour-long night bus would be safe and reliable. It just feels like the odds are especially staked against women these days and we need change.

I recently came across a heart-breaking video on TikTok from user @dasisysolomon. She was teary and shaking whilst describing her experience with a cab driver. She revealed, ‘It’s really hard to know if someone’s being polite or not because a lot of taxi drivers do just want to have a nice conversation with you while their driving. But apparently we have to be careful with everyone now.’ She continued, ‘I started to panic because my driver said he actually has a house near by that I could rent out and he could take me there now to go and see it.’ ‘ I said my friends are waiting for me so I need to go home, she added.

He then asked for her number and because she was already panicking she asked for his instead. She took his number and then a few minutes later he said, ‘I still haven’t got it,’ and she replied, ‘Got what?’ and he stated,’ I’m waiting for you to call me, so I have your number.’ She told him that she would call him later. Daisy explained, ‘When I got out of the taxi I just went up to a random woman and said can I just pretend to speak to you till this guy drives away?’ She added, ‘He didn’t go away for a while.’ She continued, ‘the woman I was with told me he was behind me for a while. I think he was staring at us, but I didn’t want to look and eventually he drove away.’

A caption flashed across the screen at the end of the video, ‘Luckily I just put the postcode not the house number. I told him to stop at the road next to my road so he wouldn’t know the exact road either.'. It was infuriating to see that some men on the internet were saying she was ‘overacting’. To invalidate her experience is disgusting. Sadly, these stories are not rare, and action needs to be taken now.

Earlier in the year it was started that the night tube wouldn’t be making a return until 2022 due to ‘lack of demand’. However, after a petition of over 100,000 signatures calling for the night tubes return, pressure has been placed on the Mayor of London. Sadiq Khan told LBC, ‘I will have an announcement in the next couple of weeks. We have been trying to get it back, TFL have been working incredibly hard to bring it back.’

After the tragic events that have recently unfolded with Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa – it’s time the government and the mayor step up.

It feels like an impossible task for women to simply get home safely these days. It’s either pay extortionate fees or feel uncomfortable… and I choose neither. The government are begging to keep the night life industry thriving, thus keeping our economy pumping - but at what cost? I know what I would prefer, a lot more focus on ensuring women feel safe both on all modes of transport and on our streets.

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