It isn't always safe being chauffeured around! In London alone, 10 women are attacked each month after getting into an unlicensed mini-cab. No wonder that many women feel safer taking a taxi driven by a woman. Pink Ladies spotted a business opportunity, and created the UK's first women-only private car hire franchise.
The Pink Ladies drive Renault Kangoos that are pink inside and out, making them highly visible. Passengers sign up as members, and fares are either pre-paid, paid by credit card or with a 'pink account', which is convenient for members and safe for drivers. Booking is done over the phone, and a text message is sent to the customer to let her know the vehicle is approaching, which means she doesn't have to wait outside. Drivers are trained in self-defense and will wait outside a customer's home after a drop-off to ensure she gets in safely.
The phenomenon is spreading globally: there's recently launched Forsche in Bombay, whose taxis include conveniences like wet wipes and perfumed talcum powder to freshen up on the way to a work meeting, nail polish remover and nail clippers and women's magazines. Nice detail: Forsche's female founder is former amateur rally driver Revathi Roy. Expansion to Pune, and starting a driving school for women is next on her agenda (no website yet, unfortunately). In Moscow, Pink Taxi and Ladies Red Taxi are vying for female business. Still leaves a lot of cities to bring this service to!