Recent statistics published by Transport for London suggests only three percent of licensed drivers are female – does this mean there’s a national shortage of women in our trade?
Sam Butterworth finds outs…
Women-only private hire firms hit the headlines in 2005 when Pink Ladies launched their taxi business in Warrington.
It was a great success and today there are Pink Ladies franchises across the country. In 2010 London based London Lady Chauffeurs began to offer their taxi service exclusively for women.
Both businesses are booming and it has led to other private hire firms opening in the UK, catering solely for females. Many women feel safer and more comfortable with a woman driver.
However, sex discrimination laws don’t make it easy for women who want to start a business in this niche. Both London Lady Chauffeurs and Pink Ladies have formed as members-only clubs, which allows them to accept only women as passengers and to employ only female drivers.
Other taxi firms have had to make the ‘women only’ part of the business a division of an ordinary taxi service. This is because by law they have to advertise for taxi drivers of both sexes and so male and female applicants are directed to the appropriate division of the such a company.
Despite this and the fact that women-only private hire companies are on the rise, there is a shortage of women drivers in the UK.
In a 2015 article in the Independent newspaper, women taxi drivers said they felt vulnerable accepting male passengers into their taxis and indeed, some of the women interviewed had been assaulted in their cabs. Could this be why so few women work as taxi and private hire drivers?
Is the popularity of women-only taxi firms as much to so with the feeling of safety and security of the drivers as well as the passengers?
Many of the women that do drive taxis give flexible working hours as a reason for doing the job. Many are working mums who do their shifts while their children are at school or in the evening when they are in bed.
It is a job that can give women the work-life balance they need with a better salary than other part-time work. But evidently there are still significant issues stopping more women joining the private hire industry.
By Sam Butterworth, blog editor at Crown Executive Cars