"Our pilots (drivers) include housewives, young women and students."
Pink Taxi, a taxi service for women by women, will launch in Karachi, Pakistan on Thursday 30th March 2017. The special service aims to protect women from harassment.
These women-only taxis can be contacted through their mobile app, a text message, or calling one on the street. The easily-identifiable pink taxis will be driven by women who will wear a pink scarf and a black coat.
Ambreen Sheikh and her husband, Zahid Sheikh, are the couple behind Pink Taxi. Ambreen said of her workforce: “Our pilots (drivers) wear a pink scarf and black coat as their uniform. They include housewives, young women and students.”
Pink Taxi is sure to receive a huge welcome in Karachi, especially with an increasingly mobile female population.
A report done by the Karachi Urban Resource Centre found that most women faced some type of harassment whilst using public transport. Therefore, Pink Taxi arrives as a safe alternative for women of Karachi to travel.
Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Transport Minister, would likely agree with the launch of Pink Taxi. He said on television: “Having a mode of public transport catering to them alone can solve many of their transport issues.”
Indeed, Zebunnisa Burki, a Karachi-based journalist also added: “Women-focused transport initiatives are important in that they serve a growing demographic of mobile women.”
Pink Taxis has plans to expand to Lahore and Islamabad, if successful.
However, there are those who have concerns about the venture, particularly the cost.
While Zebunnisa Burki appeared pleased with Pink Taxi, she warned:
“I do feel, though, that such ventures will still not cater to a large number of working women who go out to work daily… since such women will not be able to afford relatively pricey fares in these private cabs.”
The journalist raises a very important point. How Pink Taxi handles the fares for customers will definitely be something to keep an eye out for.
Regardless, the pink taxis venture is an interesting one and will surely help ease some qualms about transport for women.