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Moscow's Pink Taxis Offer A Predator-Free Zone

By Lenny Stoute     Apr 13, 2007 in Travel
UK inspired women for women taxi service taking off in Moscow
No denying the Wild West is alive and well in Moscow, what with contrary journalists assassinated, a Government playing games with the internal affairs of their neighbors and instant oil money billionaire bureaucrats competing to open the bestest, most outrageous nightclub in town.
It's not unusual therefore, for a single woman to leave such a pleasure palace after a night of partying and hail a cab to get her safely home. Only to wake up in a park or vacant lot, dazed and bleeding, raped and robbed.
Police spokesman Vladimir Korobkov said such cases are rare but admit they do happen, even with drivers for established cab companies.
While she's not had such an extreme experience, Pink Taxi general director Olga Fomina, 34, says verbal harassment, drivers stopping to pick up friends and having directions to a destination ignored are routine.
Pink Taxi is a Moscow service run by women for women. Not only does the company guarantee a safe ride, Pink Taxi drivers also offer advice, share gossip and make a concerted effort to lift their passengers' spirits
Fomina and two girlfriends launched the cab service in August. All three women had been working in real estate but had grown tired of their jobs.
Business has been growing from Day One. In August, Pink Taxi received just 20 calls. Today, the company averages 140 per day. But further growth is being hampered by a demand that is outstripping the supply of licensed women drivers. This will be solved in short order as the company has built a loyal client base and the only way to grow it is to add cars and drivers.
Passengers say they're never going back to male cab drivers.
"I don't know where to start," said Olga Kuznetsova, 34, a mother of three who travels with her kids in Pink Taxis at least twice a week. "The male drivers smoke, spit, play loud music, and generally don't give a damn about the comfort of the passenger."
Not everyone sees Pink Cabs in a rosy light. Especially Moscow's estimated and unregulated 40,000 "gypsy" cabbies. Says gypsy cab driver and budding equal rights activist Vyacheslav Sokolnikov : "I'm against women driving at all. They slow down traffic," he said, "and don't have the necessary coordination to drive a car."
Across that great city, Moscow women now enjoy a level of security taken for granted, and rightly so, by their sisters in the West.You can bet they're not about to quit the Pink anytime soon.
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