Pink Taxi, a new taxi service run by female drivers and catering exclusively to female passengers has launched in Egypt.
According to Reem Fawzi the founder of this new service, Pink Taxi came out of society’s need for safer transportation; not only for Egyptian women, but also for foreign women who may feel uneasy about bargaining with drivers and fear street harassment.
“Egypt is rated the second country in the world for female harassment, and according to a survey 96 per cent of female tourists are exposed to verbal harassment,” he said.
Pink Taxi eliminates the need to hail a cab on the streets because it is a by-order service accessed by phone, online booking or mobile app only. The project started its operation with 20 cabs and expects to have 50 by the end of the first year.
Fawzi added that the service could also help reduce another problem — women’s unemployment. “Only eight per cent of women graduates currently find jobs, and these are often restricted to certain areas. I cannot say that we are offering the solution to these problems, but we are trying to be part of the solution,” she said.
The founders of the company said they spent months preparing the launch of the service in Cairo, obtaining all the proper licencing for both the cars and drivers and conducting security checks on the drivers before the service started up.
“We faced some difficulties trying to obtain a taxi licence, due to some routine concerns from the officials concerned. Getting professional driving licences by having to stand in line with truck drivers proved hard for some of our staff as well. But these were the only problems we faced throughout the preparations,” Fawzi said.
Selecting women to make up the team wasn’t easy either. The first phase was done on Facebook where the Pink Taxi fan page announced the need for female drivers and soon received an unexpectedly long list of applicants.
“Although we train all the accepted women for two months, we have some conditions which we don’t let go of. The most important one is mastery in driving, which is tested before training. The drivers also need to be familiar with the English language, have high educational qualifications, and be aged between 25 and 45 years old.” Fawzi said.