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New rideshare service for women, by women in Maricopa and Pinal counties

Uber and Lyft both launched features to connect women and nonbinary people with drivers of the same gender in the last year. Now, a new rideshare service based in Maricopa and Pinal counties has begun offering safe rides for women, by women.

Owner Megan Hjelle said Alegna was inspired by the practice of women asking a bartender if "Angela" is working when they need help or might be in danger.

“I just took the safe word ‘Angela,’ and backwards it’s ‘Alegna,’” said Hjelle. “So, hopefully when we get bigger the ladies that do go to bars and need help, they can use the safeword at the bar and the bartender would call us to come help them.”

Hjelle said they’re almost totally booked until May, but that the business has also begun to hire employees to address the demand.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.