Island News

The future for women taxi drivers

Written By : JONATHAN BRYCE . The taxi driving business is dominated by men. However, Fiji is slowly moving forward to a position where women are starting to become members
07 Jun 2008 12:00

image Written By : JONATHAN BRYCE . The taxi driving business is dominated by men. However, Fiji is slowly moving forward to a position where women are starting to become members of the taxi driving business.
Over the years, this male-dominated profession has seen very few or no women behind the wheel of a taxi cab.
Today’s situation is slightly different then it was twenty years ago when taxi driving was seen as a traditionally man’s job.
According to Fiji Taxi Union general sectary, Rishi Ram, this change could turn out to be a positive step for all taxi businesses around the country.
Mr Ram said while he has been general secretary for the taxi union, he had seen a small number of female taxi drivers in Viti Levu.
Mr Ram has encouraged women who are want to drive taxis.
“It has been proven that women can do anything in the world. Taxi driving is not an easy role to play because you come across a lot of different people. Sometimes they could be prisoners, some could be on the run, sometimes you come across dangerous people. You never know who they are, never know whether they are good or bad,” he said.
He said there are some risks involved in the business because taxi drivers are sometimes robbed or find themselves in dangerous situations because of passengers, pedestrians and other drivers on the road.
However, Mr Ram has said that so far, there have not been any incidents where women drivers have been harmed or threatened.
Mr Ram advised drivers to report to police if they had any concerns about their safety.
He said there were no negative effects of having women as part of the taxi business. “There’ve been no complaints against them. These few women drivers have opened doors in this part of the taxi business for many others.”
“Women drivers can change the face of the local taxi business if the numbers increase in the future. During my trips overseas, I have seen so many lady taxi drivers. The way, the way they talk to passengers, the way they always bring about a friendly environment and so many of them are much safer drivers than the men,” said Mr Ram.
“I look forward to an increase of female taxi drivers in Fiji. I believe because of the need for employment and the rate of poverty in our economy, they might come into the business. We may see more and more women taxi drivers on the road soon.”
Mr Ram said there has never been a request by women drivers for special treatment.
“Women drivers have not needed any special accommodations and have strived in whatever difficulties the male drivers strive against too,” he said.
Mr Ram said many taxi-using customers believe women drivers have a lot to offer.
He said this was because women drivers’ were more careful, they watch the speed limit and divert their full attention and concentration to the road with both their hands on the steering wheel.
“I request women to join and become part of the Fiji Taxi Union. Because I’ve seen that women, during their time on the road, can receive a lot of help. If there is a flat tire or engine trouble, passing vehicles are usually willing to stop and assist. But sometimes for male drivers, help is a little limited. People are mostly afraid to stop and help out on the road. We have also noticed that women drivers do their best to dress well and much better than the men. I urge women to come and join up,” said Mr Ram. Confident that the number of women drivers may increase in the near future, Mr Ram’s view on a Fiji with women taxi drivers appears to be a promising for women to literally drive into this male dominated occupation.

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