Women-only taxis to launch in Peshawar

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PESHAWAR, JAN 28: Pink Taxi has been launched in Peshawar. Women will drive this taxi.=DNA PHOTO

PESHAWAR, JAN 29 (DNA) –  The government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) announced on Saturday the province’s first Pink Taxi service, where women drivers will offer female passengers comfortable, safe journeys. “I’m proud to be the first woman driver of this service in KP,” Tamana Khan, clad in a pink headscarf that matches the color of her vehicle, adding that women are often harassed on public transport.

The service in the provincial capital Peshawar is being launched by Paxi Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. to empower women and make them financially independent. The service was launched in Karachi in 2016.

A cab can be booked via a mobile phone app, a call to customer services, or on the roadside. Besides the per-kilometer fare, the taxi will also charge a base fare, Tamana said.

Initially there will be 25-30 female drivers in Peshawar, but the service will be expanded to other parts of the province in due time, said Fizza Khan, media and marketing manager of Paxi Pakistan. “Drivers are being recruited and trained locally,” she added.

Salma Malik, CEO of the NGO In Search of Justice, which is Paxi Pakistan’s local partner in KP, said: “On the one hand the service offers secure travel to women, and on the other it provides job opportunities to local women.”

Naheed Jehangir, a working woman in KP’s corporate sector, told that it is good to see women-only cabs in Peshawar, but the province is conservative so female drivers may face problems.

However, Bilal Mohammed of Paxi Pakistan said the company expects the service to succeed in KP because most Pashtun women would prefer to travel with female drivers.
“Despite the charges being a little higher than the available cabs, the service will offer a respectable commute to women,” he told.

Pink Taxi comes with a tracker and other security features, and commuters will have to provide their mobile phone numbers to use the service.
“There’s three-month training of self-defense, firefighting and rescue for the female drivers,” he said.
The app is monitored round-the-clock, and offers an emergency button that, if pressed, alerts office staff, said Fizza Khan.
The app monitors both the driver and vehicle. “Our office-based staff is alerted in case the driver is in one location and the vehicle is in another,” she added.