- Updated with more letters & articles!
TRANSIT took note of this article announcing the launching of women-only taxi cab services at KLCC recently.
Women-only taxi-cab services join the women-only train coaches and women-only bus services offered by KTM Komuter and RapidKL respectively.
Unfortunately, the general climate of fear that exists in Malaysia, as well as a lack of education about respect for women, combined with reports of violence against women, and a “protective” approach towards solving problems, has led to the growth of women-only services.
As you can imagine, we wish the “need” for ‘women-only’ services did not exist – but since it does exist, we appreciate that the service is being provided.
Women-only cabs launched (The Star)
Sunday November 27, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Female passengers can now travel at night without having to worry about their safety with the launch of women-only taxis.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Senator Datuk Heng Seai Kie said female users could be assured of comfort and security.
[TRANSIT: We would say “more confident” rather than “assured”, since in the absence of data there is nothing to say that female drivers could be any more or any less dangerous than male drivers.]
“These taxis will be driven by female drivers and will be welcomed by women who are travelling alone or with children and senior citizens,” Heng said after launching the taxi service here in conjunction with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the Bandar Tasik Selatan Integrated Transport Terminal here yesterday.
Heng said the budget taxi was available as a call-in service and three companies were participating; Destination Transport, Zalnas Sdn Bhd and Koperasi Pengangkutan Putrajaya dan Cyberjaya.
Heng said that she expected more taxi companies to follow suit.
“At the moment we have 50 women taxi drivers and we encourage more women to come forward, especially single mothers, housewives and retirees,” Heng added.
She said working as a taxi driver provided flexible working hours and it could be done on a part-time or full-time basis.
She expected at least 400 women taxi drivers to operate in the Klang Valley in stages.
Those interested [TRANSIT: Interested in being drivers? Interested in hiring a taxi?] could call 03-8024 0507, 03-2692 6000 and 03-88884020, she added.
On violence against women, Heng said an average of 10 women a day became victims of such acts in the country.
You may also be interested in reading:
- WOMEN TAXI DRIVERS: Concept won’t deter crime (Letter – NST, 30 November 2011);
- Can the women take the heat, ask male cabbies (The Star, 30 November 2011);
- ‘Women taxis’ for vulnerable, too (NST)
As any economist or entrepreneur would know, once a market has the potential to exist, it is only a matter of time before demand is identified and a product is supplied.
And even then, there is no assurance. From the NST article:
Hamizah Muhammad, 24, said the service was beneficial for women as it could be a solution to harassment.
She, however, raised concerns on the safety of passengers and the drivers as such taxis could attract unwanted attention, more so with a “TeksiWanita” sticker displayed on the vehicle.
Read more: ‘Women taxis’ for vulnerable, too – General – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/local/general/women-taxis-for-vulnerable-too-1.11668#ixzz1exxMecUm
Safety assured? We didn’t think so. And we absolutely do not want to be reading stories about violence against women that have headlines like “women-only taxi occupants harassed/assaulted/kidnapped/raped/murdered” etc. after a Senator who has probably never used public transport in her life says that safety is “assured”
Interestingly enough, the first time we heard about a women only taxi service it was a proposal submitted by an entrepreneur who was interested in starting a company called “Pink Taxi” and was looking for information about the permit process. Sadly, she was discouraged by the CVLB’s freeze on taxi permits (at the time) and did not further pursue the idea. We were later told that certain people in the civil service had picked up her idea and run with it.
Which just goes to show you – there are a lot of great entrepreneurs in Malaysia – and we need to stop discouraging them and taking their ideas for our own.