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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Homobiles: Possibly the Best S.F. Ride Service Ever

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 7:30 AM


How many of you folks in San Francisco know about Homobiles, a donations-based, 24/7 transportation service for queers and their allies? Homobiles is a nonprofit started by Lynn Breedlove, former frontperson of the dyke punk band Tribe 8, to provide safe rides home to people vulnerable to harassment, such as sex workers or transgender folks. But they don't stop there. Homobiles wants to make sure everyone can get home safely. And that means EVERYONE.

As a female who regularly spends time out late at night, this particular service speaks volumes. As luck would have it, a friend of mine, Holly Fogleboch, is a volunteer driver, so I asked if I could ride along to see first-hand how Homobiles works. She picked me up at 11 p.m. on a Thursday and we headed off into the night.

But first, Fogleboch gave me the skinny on what being a Homobiles driver entailed: 

"We are all volunteers and we use our own cars and gasoline. We accept donations for rides. No one is ever turned away for lack of funds. Our heartbeat is the queer community, sex workers, and people who would otherwise possibly have trouble getting a cab, or not feel safe calling one."

Our evening started out slow. Our first rider had no cash, but Fogleboch explained that he would probably pay it back next time, since he has been a customer for quite some time. She said that at least once a night someone won't be able to pay. The reason doesn't matter. Riders are going to get home either way. "Sometimes my next fare will pay extra because they know we provide this service to people who need it and that has been lovely," said Fogleboch.

Fogleboch has no shortage of interesting stories, which she has been documenting on her blog. For instance, there were the gay gentlemen who blasted George Michael's "Careless Whisper" while en route to an after-hours club. And the drag queens who really appreciated the head room in her Subaru because it allowed their gloriously high hair not to be smashed. 

click to enlarge A volunteer's car.
  • A volunteer's car.

The first time I used Homobiles was a few weeks earlier, when I was leaving a sex party around 3 a.m. in SOMA. I was wearing next to nothing, just a corset with feathers and a black coat -- other late night attire has consisted of lingerie, tutus, or just my coat and a big purse. When I saw Fogleboch and her Subaru across the street, I happily pranced right in. 

At 3 a.m., you never know if you are going to get a cab, or if you will feel safe and comfortable with the random driver who stops for you. Granted, Fogleboch is my friend, but Homobiles is a friendly service. Your driver will get you home safely without hassle. They won't go the long way to run up a bill, or ask you inappropriate questions about what you were doing, or why you are dressed like that. A safe ride home is invaluable, and the founders of Homobiles know that.

Possibly the best part of Homobiles, however, is their pit stop policy. Fogleboch informed me:  "I am allowed to take you on pit stops. If you need condoms, food, or a quick stop, we can take you where you need to go." This was the best thing I had ever heard, as conventional cabs are so strict with their rules, and our subsequent 24-hour Burger King drive-thru trip is a memory I won't soon forget.

Homobiles is a San Francisco service if ever I've heard of one. Even their motto is great: "Moes getting hoes where they needz to goes!" I think that sentence says it all.


Vanessa L. Pinto (aka Fleur De Lis SF) documented a year of her sex life on her blogWhatever You Desire. She also blogs for the Huffington Post and is a contributing writer with Whore! Magazine. She has a degree in political science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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