Oraia Reid, RightRides Founder
by Katherine Kurre
Aug 23, 2011 | 4146 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oraia Reid is doing her best to protect women and members of the LGBTQ community through her organization RightRides.

Upon becoming aware of the increasing late night assaults on women in her neighborhood, Reid felt inclined to help. In 2004, she, along with co-founder Consuelo Ruybal, started the non-profit organization RightRides.

“We started it seven years ago in direct response to women walking home by themselves. I felt like I had to do something,” Reid said. She began by using her own car and offering free late-night rides home. She and Ruybal soon bought a cell phone to use as a dispatch phone, and thus RightRides was born.

Others soon began to volunteer their time and their cars to help with the RightRides program. Within their first year, RightRides drove more than 200 people safely home in the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn and the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan.

In May 2006, RightRides entered a partnership with Zipcar, which provided the organization with three cars. Since then, Zipcar provides the organization with an average of six cars per week.

RightRides offers its services on Friday and Saturday nights from 11:59 p.m. until 3 a.m.

On weekends, RightRides receives an average of 30 to 50 calls for transportation home. Currently they service 45 neighborhoods across four boroughs.

“We want to expand all the way through Manhattan and further into the outer neighborhoods of Queens and the Bronx," Reid said.

The only way to expand though, is if there are more volunteers. "We need volunteers to make it happen," said Reid. "We're always looking for volunteers."

These volunteers create driving teams of a driver and a navigator during their shifts. Driving teams are made up of two women or one man and one woman.

Volunteers need to pass a driving test, have a criminal background check, and meet other qualifications. Reid noted that all of the volunteers are safe and have met all the volunteer requirements.

RightRides is not a taxi service. "We do not take ride requests in advance," Reid said, "We give women and LGBTQ members a ride home. We are a community-based service to stop sexual assault."

Unfortunately, Reid has not seen a decrease in sexual assault. "Sexual assault is up 30 percent," she said. "It's an under-reported crime, so a 30 percent increase is nowhere near the real number."

"Even though I would love for there to be no need for RightRides, women and members of the LGBTQ community are still targeted for assault, so we are needed," she said.

For more information, visit www.rightrides.com.

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