An all women taxi service called Pink Taxi, has hit the roads in Egypt aiming to provide women with a safer mode of transport. As Hayley Platt reports it also hopes to reduce the number of sexual harassment cases in a country which one survery suggests is the worst place in the Arab world to be a woman.
Women only taxis maybe not be a radical idea in the West but in Egypt it's a first. The Pink Taxi company hopes it will help cut the number of sexual harassment incidents in a country shown in one survey to be the worst in the Arab world to be a woman. Mervat Al-Badry is looking forward to starting work. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DRIVER AT PINK TAXI, MERVAT AL-BADRY, SAYING: "The passenger won't feel as anxious as she might with a male driver especially if it's late at night. Security and safety are a priority for the passengers as well as the drivers - the company is protecting us as well." Drivers like Mervat will receive specific training before being let loose on the road. They'll also need to have a college degree and be fluent in English or a second language apart from Arabic. Reem Fawky is a Pink Taxi director. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DIRECTOR OF PINK TAXI, REEM FAWZY, SAYING: "We train the drivers for two to three months. We teach them about traffic laws so they don't go on the road without knowing what they are doing. We also prepare them psychologically to face society and how to deal with people." The move follows a new law passed in June. Those found guilty of committing sexual harassment could face at least six months in jail or fines of at least 3,000 Egyptian pounds, the equivalent of 340 euros. The new taxi service has been welcomed by many Egyptian women. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) CUSTOMER, KAREEMA SAKOOT, SAYING: "It's a new idea and I like it very much. I feel like girls are saying 'we're here', and we can do something." Women only taxi firms have been up and running in a number of other countries around the world for some time. In Egypt, Pink Taxi's may not get such an easy ride. The idea of a business being run by women for women is already raising eyebrows.