Innovation That Matters

Cabs for and by women | Update

Mobility & Transport

About a year ago, we covered the UK’s first women-only private car hire franchise: Pink Ladies. The company aimed to make rides safer for female passengers and female drivers. The concept is taking root, as witnessed by spottings of similar ventures in Moscow, Dubai and Teheran. Moscow’s Pink Taxi was launched in August 2006 by Olga Fomina and two of her friends. The company’s initial fleet consisted of two Daewoo cars and two drivers. Six months later, Pink Taxi has 20 cars and 27 drivers on the road, and is looking to upgrade to Volvo S40s. Following in their footsteps, Ladies Red Taxi was founded in November and operates from neighbouring city Khimki. It doesn’t quite fit the ‘for women, by women’ bill, though, as it caters to both men and women (source: Moscow Times). In Dubai, taxis for women made their debut in January 2007. The initiative was launched by Dubai’s Road and Traffic Authority, which trained 100 female drivers and has a fleet of 50 vehicles. The goal is to provide a secure mode of transport for women and children, and the emirate’s sand-coloured taxis with pink roofs will mainly pick up passengers at hospitals and shopping malls (source: Gulf News). Last but not least, women-only taxis are slowing gaining official recognition in Iran, according to the Financial Times. The motivation is the same as in the UK, the UAE and Russia — safety concerns and creating flexible jobs for women. Taxis are a common way of getting around in Teheran, where public transportation is limited and petrol is subsidised by the government. While expected to wear full hijab, female cabbies feel empowered by their job. From the FT: “It gives you a feeling of being useful – because it’s a ‘male’ job, you feel power and confidence,” says Neda Malekpour. Although pink-thinking entrepreneurs may have to find their way around anti-discrimination laws in some countries, we having a feeling this concept will continue to spread. Have we left out your local women-only taxi service? Please let us know! You can post a comment below. Websites & contact details: / Dubai Taxi Authority: 00 971 (0)4208 0808 No details for Teheran. Spotted by: Ozgur Alaz


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