Who has ever felt awkward getting into a cab with a male driver? Perhaps its late. Perhaps you’re alone. In a new city. Or at the receiving end of some unwelcome comments and grimey looks. Well, what if you could choose to have a female driver instead?
Until I picked up this week’s Stylist, I had no idea that women-only taxi firms existed. The article was highlighting the latest fleet of female-only taxis in Amman, Jordan, which launched in response to the country’s high sexual harassment rates. Upon further investigation, I learned that The Abul Haj Investment Group is behind the venture, announcing in Alaraby last January that “We will start with 20 pink taxis driven by professional women who used to be driving instructors,” said Eid Abul Haj, the CEO of Abul Haj Investment group. “Our drivers will receive a monthly salary and be subject to the social security law. They will also be dressed in elegant uniforms.” Women can pre-book their journey with “The Special Taxi” through the company’s dedicated call centre, and enjoy further comfort in the fact (if this system isn’t abused) that each taxi has been fitted with a tracking device to ensure their vehicle’s whereabouts at all times.
Other Arab countries have gotten behind the wheel, so to speak, as well. Pink Taxi, founded by Reem Fawzy last year in Cairo, was set up to provide women a safe and comfortable journey around one of Egypt’s busiest cities. According to a CNN article, the women drivers must have a University degree, speak English and have at least two years driving experience. The bright pink cars are “equipped with a GPS and a camera, as well as an SOS button that can stop the vehicle and alert Pink Taxi headquarters in case of an emergency.” Lebanon’s Banet Taxi (Taxi Girl) offers the same type of service in Beirut, as does Ladies Taxi Service in Dubai.
From the Arab world to Europe and beyond, women worldwide are interested in women-only driving companies and WomensTaxi.org is making it easy for them to find one. Nomin Dari launched the website in 2013 “to provide a comprehensive overview of each existing W4W (Women for Women) initiative and to consolidate it in one place. On the Global Companies section of the website, information about fourteen different companies spanning nine countries is available.” She writes about her motivations for starting WomensTaxi.org in the Huffington Post and I’m sure everyone can relate to her experiences.
Wherever you’re reading this – whether it’s the US, UK, Iran, or Mongolia – if you feel unsafe, or would feel more comfortable with women for women transport, have a look at the website and find a company near you.