Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Taxi Driver assaults on Female Passengers Women-only pink taxis on the way Melbourne The Age Nov 14th 2013



Women-only pink taxis on the way

Adam Carey, Dylan Bird November 14, 2013
Move designed to curb assaults on female passengers by drivers.
Pink taxis driven by women and available only to female passengers could be on Melbourne's streets soon.
TaxiLink's Harry Katsiabanis hopes to recruit 50 women to drive a new fleet of pink cabs to serve women exclusively.
Mr Katsiabanis said he was pushing the initiative, dubbed Taxi Link Pink, in response to a series of articles in The Age about lone women being sexually assaulted by taxi drivers at night.
Victoria's taxi authority has been receiving about three complaints a month from female passengers, ranging from sexually intimidating behaviour to assault.
"Taxi Link Pink will be a fleet of pink taxis for women only, driven by women only," Mr Katsiabanis said. "But I can't launch the product if I don't have the drivers."


Women would be trained as drivers and then hired under a conventional bailment agreement, under which they would earn 50 per cent of the fare box, rising to 55 per cent once the state government's taxi industry reforms take effect.
The drivers would be assigned work from a call centre and could pick up female customers on the street.
Mr Katsiabanis said Victoria's taxi industry was male-dominated, yet 58 per cent of his company's customers were women. The few female drivers already at TaxiLink could not keep up with demand.
"We need to change the perception," he said. "I've only got a handful [of female drivers] and they are fantastic. They can't keep up with the demand."
An exemption from Victoria's equal opportunity laws would be required before the scheme could start.
Veterinary nurse Brook Trott, 18, said a women-only taxi service would make her feel more comfortable about catching cabs.
"I would feel more safe if I was to get in a taxi with another girl, as a driver or just a passenger," Ms Trott said.
Recruitment consultant Tatjana Grgic, 42, said women-only cabs would make little difference during the day but would be welcome at night.
"I've had all kinds of different male taxi drivers with the intention to get something out of you, not just money, and if I had a choice and was calling up Silver Top or any other taxi services and they were asking the option, 'Would you like a male or a female?', my response would be 'female'," Ms Grgic said.
The taxi industry inquiry, led by Professor Allan Fels, made no specific recommendations for improving women's safety in cabs, but noted it was an issue.
Taxi Services Commissioner Graeme Samuel said the push for women-only taxis was an example of the kind of innovation that the government's industry reforms were designed to foster.
"There will be innovators who see there are some great opportunities now to create a different service, and it's a service that will attract customers and differentiate itself from the current incumbents, the two major networks," Mr Samuel said.
The commission would have to approve the change of taxi colour from yellow to pink. Mr Samuel said Victoria's uniformly yellow taxis were "anti-competitive and disempowered consumers".
  • The Napthine government will introduce tough new fines for companies that do not comply with its decision to slash the credit card surcharge for taxi payments by 50 per cent.
The existing 10 per cent surcharge will drop to 5 per cent next year, in one of the key reforms to the industry.
Companies that do not reduce the surcharge face civil fines of up to $5 million, and individuals face fines of up to $1 million.
"We are serious about taxi reform, and serious about halving the cost of using your card to pay for your trip," Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said.
http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/womenonly-pink-taxis-on-the-way-20131114-2xj2i.html

http://petedoweroadsafetyadvocate.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/taxi-driver-assaults-on-female.html

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