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Paris gets women-only taxi service

In an effort to keep women free from harassment when travelling from A to B, this start-up has launched a women-only taxi service in Paris.

Give me a form of transport and I've likely been groped on it. I once made the mistake of sitting in the front seat of a cab and had the driver suddenly hit the brakes (unnecessarily) and grab my chest to ‘protect me’ he said. In a train, a fellow commuter rubbed my thigh until my boot crushed his toes, I was rubbed up against in a tram, suggestively jostled in a bus and even kissed on a plane (admittedly, the last transgression was committed by an affectionate two year old so hardly counts).


It's the cliche anecdote, backed up by sad statistics: women are at risk of assault when just trying to get from one place to another. This has spurred a French start up called Women Drive to offer an exclusively women drivers only taxi service for a primarily female clientele, the International Business Times has reported.


"Do you wish to travel at any time of the day, free of indiscreet looks, delicate questions, or ambiguous proposals? Do you want to be a passenger that's respected, protected and listened to?" Its website asks.


If you answered yes, be prepared to pay for it. If an average Paris taxi sets you back about €2.40 per 2.4km, the same distance in a Women Drive vehicle will cost you €20. Of course, you could order a one hour service at €50.


For now, the service is exclusive to Paris, but its founder Sarra Boubchir hopes to expand it nationwide in the future.


Boubchir was inspired to create the service following an incident in which she and another female passenger were picked up by a male driver and had to sit through his sexually charged remarks. When the women failed to respond to his advances, he dropped them off on the side of the road, nowhere near their destination.


The concept is not new but is certainly in keeping with international trends, with New York’s She-Taxi, and our very own Melbourne’s Shesafe (they just got hooked up to the NBN so it should be all systems go soon). 


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Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 30 August 2017

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