A ride-hailing vehicle moves through traffic in Manhattan. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber has introduced a special program specific to Saudi Arabia where women drivers will be allowed to pick only women passengers for their ride services.

Known as Women Preferred View, Uber launched the program after several months of study, according to the ride-hailing company.

The program factors in the cultural ethos of Saudi society while offering a significant push to women drivers in finding economic opportunities in the region.

In a landmark step, Saudi Arabia scrapped the ban on women driving last year.

Saudi-specific feature

“The women's preferred the feature was designed for Saudi Arabia after extensive research to understand the needs of women in a country going through a significant cultural transformation” commented Shaden Abdellatif, Middle East Uber spokesperson.

The religious practices in Saudi Arabia maintain many curbs on women and there are restrictions on the mixing of sexes at public places although many constraints are already diluted.

Uber’s study found that a majority of prospective women drivers are interested in driving women riders.

According to Abdellatif Waked, general manager of Uber Middle East and North Africa, the company's new feature will step up more opportunities for women as Uber driver-partners, without compromising their local cultural norms.

Uber is already known for many proactive measures, including the splitting of fares to support group travel. During travel with multiple riders, UberPool can save costs. It also provides wheelchair-accessible cars in at least 15 cities.

Focus on safety

Safety concerns about ride haling services are high and many measures are being taken to address such worries in several markets.

In the U.S. customers and lawmakers have asked ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft to offer new features to address safety concerns.

According to an investigation by CNN, at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States are facing charges of sexual assault or abuse of passengers.

In South Carolina rideshare vehicles have been directed to display illuminated signs after the tragic incident involving a college student who was duped into a predator’s vehicle believing that it was her Uber.

Uber has assured its prospective investors in the new IPO that a safety-transparency report covering the latest data on assaults on its platform will be released.

Sony’s ride haling service hits Tokyo

Meanwhile, Sony launched a taxi-hailing service in Tokyo in association with five other partners. Minna no Taxi (Everybody’s Taxi) Corporation includes Sony Payment Services, Sony Corp. itself, and six taxi companies. The S.Ride app started service on April 15.