For the last decade the ride-hailing industry has been taking over standard taxi services, yet many issues have not been addressed. The sad truth is that there are dozens of documented cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault for both regular taxi services and ride-hailing companies. From numerous local tragedies to million dollar lawsuits currently being filed against giants, it is obvious to see that regardless of location or company the current model is simply not working when it comes to safety for women. As we acknowledge Sexual Awareness Month, the XX team met up with Anna Marie Lee who is one of the customer service representatives from PinkCab to find out more about their taxi-service for women and children.
PinkCab officially launched its services on February 8 with the mission to provide a safe, meaningful alternative for all women who want to earn extra income as drivers and also to provide a secure, comfortable experience for all women and their children that require transportation. The idea behind PinkCab came into existence over a year ago. Since then, focus has been placed on building a community of like-minded people for the sole purpose of empowering women on the road and providing a secure alternative for transportation within T&T, the Caribbean and the rest of the world.
With the primary goal being safety, PinkCab ensures that all drivers are personally vetted and selected through an in-person interview. All passengers are verified through the app and background checks, before their account is activated. Passengers are provided a special code in order to verify that the driver who returns to pick them up is the one they reached through the PinkCab app. Upon indication of any problem, PinkCab will immediately contact the rider or driver to resolve issues or dispatch a private security company. The PinkCab SOS button and hotline gives the option to contact our 24/7 emergency service, the police, or a predetermined emergency contact who will immediately receive a text message indicating that you do not feel safe in your ride and in your location.
Women and children are the main target and, as a result, all services are customised and tailored towards their needs. This is a movement of inclusion, not exclusion. To simply put it, in order to have a nurturing, secure and reliable service, it needs to be focused on its mission.
With security being the foundation of their service, empowerment and community are its corner stones. There’s no intent to stop at simply establishing the most secure ride-hailing option for women. Rather they aim to solve issues that have been plaguing the ride-hailing industry as a whole and provide a unique environment for women to not only earn, but also grow and flourish while doing it.
Their driver base are women that juggle multiple jobs or are stay-at-home moms that need to provide for their children - PinkCab has started building a network of partners which can make their life easier. For personal growth, this means access to self-defence and first aid courses and a range of self improvement trainings. For their cars, it means discounts at body and tyre shops, special insurance packages and free wi-fi in their cars. On a day to day basis this also means access to selected shops and restaurants, as well as spa and retreat centres where our community, passengers included, can get discounts and rewards.
While PinkCab was born out of the need for a solution on public sexual harassment, it is growing beyond that by the day. A new array of services that will focus on special needs are being planned: a service for women with disabilities; a service aimed at the elderly and accompanying them in their daily tasks as well as special package options that facilitate everyday commuting or the simple act of taking your child to and from daycare at an affordable price.
What keeps them motivated and excited is the fact that people resonate with their cause, they have been supported by the German embassy in T&T for International Women’s Day and received amazing feedback from different organisations that support women’s rights and are completing more and more rides for satisfied passengers every day. In telking to us Ms Lee she quotes from one of her favourite singers, Dionne Warwick, “Healthy children are born from healthy, respected, well-nourished and educated mothers and it is imperative that they have a voice in the decisions which affect them. If you empower a mother and let her have her say towards a poverty-free future, the positive impact this would have will be immense.”
Lee tells us that most of all at PinkCab they want to give peace of mind and focus on enhancing the positive experience. She says “while we cannot single-handedly extinguish everything bad that is happening on and off the road, we can set a positive example and show that with focus on security and benefits, a community that shares the save values and aims to grow stronger by the day can emerge.
PinkCab is ultimately a sisterhood. We learn and adapt to every new driver on board, we listen and try to encourage every idea that comes forth and we adhere to our mission is a better future for all women.”