go be safe toronto

New initiative will cover partial costs to help Asian people get around Toronto safely

A new grassroots program will aim to help members of the Asian/Pacific Islander community get around Toronto safely by partially covering the costs associated with rideshare apps following an uptick in racist and violent incidents targeting these communities throughout the pandemic.

The program, called "Go Be Safe," was created by Toronto resident Julie Kim and hasn't yet launched, but will eventually offer partial reimbursements for Uber and Lyft rides to Asian/Pacific Islander community members who feel unsafe or fearful about being targeted while taking the TTC for essential travel.

"The Asian/Pacific Islander community has been under attack more frequently due to being accused and falsely blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic," Kim wrote in an online fundraiser for the program, which has raised $1,185 of its $10,000 goal as of Monday.

"They are being judged, attacked and terrorized across Canada and many are still very afraid to leave their homes. They fear walking outside or taking public transit and being harassed or even killed. This, on top of fear of exposure to COVID."

Kim says she was inspired to start "Go Be Safe" by similar ride-safe programs in New York City, Boston, San Diego and San Francisco, and she hopes to be able to bring an equally successful initiative of this kind to both Toronto and Vancouver in the near future. 

The name of the program, on the other hand, was inspired by her family. 

"In my Korean family, it is customary... when a loved one is leaving the house to tell that person, 'Go safely,'" she says, "and upon returning back that person would say, 'They came back safe.'"

While the official launch date for the program has yet to be announced, members of the aforementioned communities will eventually be able to participate in the initiative by submitting a Google form within five days of using a rideshare app.

Participants will be required to submit any documentation requested in the form, and selfies will also be mandatory unless there is a legitimate reason as to why one could not be provided. 

Anyone approved for a reimbursement will be notified through email roughly five to seven days after a submission is received, and the money will be deposited into the rider's bank accounts by electronic money transfer on that same day.

Steps on how to help elders access safe transportation will also be
outlined soon.

And while Kim hopes the initial program will help keep Asian/ Pacific Islander residents in Toronto and Vancouver safe, the goal is to eventually include members of other marginalized communities as well.

"We're starting with the Asian/ Pacific Islander Community, but my hope would be that we can create safe spaces for more folks in vulnerable communities nationwide," she says.

"We at GO BE SAFE want members of the community to, 'Go safely' when they leave your homes and for them to 'Come back safe' when they return back."

Lead photo by

Stock Catalog


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