Women Drive is more than just a new taxi service with a guaranteed female driver, where women drive other women to their chosen destinations. It’s a freedom and feeling of ease while travelling, the first of its kind to launch in France.
There are around 15,000 taxis in Paris, but this new private French transport initiative promises a hassle-free trip without the ‘indiscreet looks, delicate questions, or ambiguous proposals’ that many women have come to accept as normal during their taxi travels.
‘They are generally more relaxed, can wear makeup, or talk about subjects in a way that they would not allow themselves so freely with a man behind the wheel,’ Women Drive founder and CEO Sarra Boubchir told Le Parisien.
With 98% of taxi drivers in the UK being male, mirrored by similar figures in France, the aim is to ‘prove that transporting people is not a profession reserved for men, and that women have the right to be transported in peace,’ Boubchir said.
According to a recent survey, one in two women in France will choose to wear trousers over a skirt to avoid becoming the victim of sexual harassment while travelling. This is only the tip of the iceberg, with nearly 90% of the participants admitting to having experienced some form of harassment on public transport, like the underground.
The inspiration is said to have struck when Boubchir was travelling home from a work event, and a driver started behaving inappropriately towards her and a friend. It shows that negative experiences can blossom into something beautifully positive.
There are plenty of tips on how to travel abroad safely, but a private, women-only taxi service option makes travelling around Paris that bit less stressful, no longer tainted by a fear of unwanted attention, or illegal or unmetered cabs preying on foreign visitors.
In France there are already applications like Mon Chaperon, but one of the things that makes this service different is that it’s infused with a sense of mutual understanding. There’s also a sprinkling of pampered luxury, if that’s what you’re after, with concierge and personal shopper service options, as well as makeup kits and computer tablets on offer in the back seat.
This service is currently operating in the French capital only, but is set to spread across the rest of the country very soon. You can find similar services in Australia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and New York City, but not necessarily with the sparkling Parisian glamour of Women Drive.