Puebla, Mexico - Women in Puebla, Mexico's fourth-largest city, are tickled pink over the city's new fleet of woman-operated, women-only taxi cabs. The rose-tinted taxis have the approval of the city's governing authorities and are intended to provide women with the option of secure personal travel 24 hours a day.
We're pretty certain Travis ("You talkin' to me?") Bickle wouldn't approve of Puebla's pink taxis, and there's no doubt the entire concept of women-only public transit doesn't sit well with significant segments of society, male AND female.
Unfortunately, the possibility of verbal and/or physical assault is a very real one for countless traveling women around the world. In most cases, women's advocacy groups have pushed for local transportation authorities to provide the option of women-only buses, subway cars, trains, and taxis -with Japan's pink ladies-only subway cars being the most famous example.
Puebla's "Taxi Pink" program follows the lead of a similar pink-painted taxicab system in Mexico City. The pastel pink cabs appeared in Puebla both suddenly and en masse with 35 women-driven cabs hitting the city's streets. If their cute coloration isn't enough to distinguish the cabs from their ordinary brethren, each taxi has been christened with female names including Maria, Margarita, and Blanca. Shades of My Mother The Car!
The taxis are equipped with GPS satellite tracking systems. The electronics are modified with a special feature called a "panic button" that sends an alert to the nearest Emergency Response Center.
"We want to break the myth that women both behind the wheel and behind the driver are in constant danger when traveling," explained Valentin Meneses of Puebla's Secretariat of Communications and Transportation Local."This time we wanted to focus the female sector, as it is an important segment of the population that requires special care units designed exclusively for them," adds Meneses. By having woman at the wheel and guaranteeing constant responsibility for their safety via the built-in security system, it's believed Puebla can achieve the twin goals of safe transportation and reduced crime.