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October 21, 2009

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Pink cabs reserved for girls

EACH pink taxi comes with a beauty kit, GPS and an alarm button.

The new fleet of 35 cabs in Mexico's colonial city of Puebla are driven exclusively by women and don't stop for men. The cabs cater especially to those tired of leering male drivers.

"Some of the woman who have been on board tell us how male taxi drivers cross the line and try to flirt with them and make inappropriate propositions," said taxi driver Aida Santos, who drives one of the compact, four-door taxis with a tracking device and an alarm button that notifies emergency services.

"In the pink taxi they don't have that feeling of insecurity, and they feel more relaxed."

Women's rights activists are aghast at the sugary presentation and said the service did not address the root of the harassment problem.

"We are in the 21st century, and they are saying women have continued worries about beauty and nothing more," said Vianeth Rojas, of the Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Puebla. "They are absolutely not helping eradicate violence against women."

Cabbie Lidia Hernandez, 40, who previously worked at a gas station, called the pink compacts "a new and attractive source of employment."

In Puebla, privately financed Pink Taxi de Puebla invested 5.8 million pesos ($US440,000) to start the service and the Puebla government provided licensing and training.


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