New products and services that empower women are cropping up all the time, most recently a cab service exclusively for women called Pink Taxi. What sets Pink Taxi apart is how it uses blockchain to manage its systems.
The Blockchain Behind Pink Taxi
Pink Taxi first got its start in Britain back in 2006. The company’s Advisory Head? None other than famed antivirus software developer, John McAfee. Since its creation, Pink Taxi has spread to over 18 countries and 50 cities including the United States, Russia, Iran, the UAE, South Africa, Lebanon, Pakistan, Mexico, India, Australia, Turkey, and Kuwait.
The reason behind the company’s creation centers around safety. Over 54% of women ages 18-34 get assaulted in taxis each day according to Pink Taxi. With this statistic, women from various cultures often feel uncomfortable stepping into male-driven cabs. As an alternative, women can choose the hot pink Nissan taxis and comprehensive blockchain network of Pink Taxi.
The blockchain network powering Pink Taxi takes 50 international Pink Taxi fleets and bundles them on a distributed network for better communication and more attractive rates. No need to pay with credit card or cash. Instead, the customer can download a certain amount of Ethereum-based Pink Taxi Tokens (PTT) to her digital wallet.
Smart contracts automatically transfer that payment to the driver at the end of the trip. Payment is faster than regular taxi services since drivers don’t need to wait for their fees. The blockchain technology also allows Pink Taxi to cut out third parties like managers or accountants, so drivers get more of their money while customers pay less.
As for conflicts along the way, Pink Taxi moderators can turn to blockchain’s immutable ledger for unscrambling events and solving situations. Additionally, in contrast to “regular” taxi services, the blockchain ledger enables real-time communication between all users. As a result, all fleets can interconnect at any given moment.
When it comes to safety, Pink Taxi rises above the competition. Customers who want a certain car or driver can use the blockchain to check technical details of vehicles and screen each driver’s history. So, customers see a driver’s place of origin, driving history, education, and anything else drivers feel comfortable sharing.
Some Pink Taxi companies employ drivers who are trained in child care to look after unaccompanied children over seven years old. Parents can use the blockchain to follow their child’s journey in real time, as well to track the exact location of the car at all times. It’s no wonder that Pink Taxi receives more than 100,000 applicants and logs about 700,000 passengers a year.
In fact, it’s predicted to serve an estimated 30 million customers by 2020.
The Ethics Behind Pink Taxi
In 2016, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told New York City's young women to buddy up because of the sexual assault incidences rising in cabs. “We are aware – too aware – of our safety,” Prachi Gupta told Cosmopolitan. “What we need to hear from a public official is not how to better anticipate our rapes, but how he plans to crackdown on crime and prevent it from happening.”
Despite its usefulness, Pink Taxi is the car version of a million “don’t get raped” products like the drug-sensing nail polish women can paint onto their fingertips and dip into drinks. Critics wonder whether these services and products commodify the “don’t get raped” industry, rather than diffuse the danger.
There’s no doubt that the numbers of women who are sexually molested on public transportation is appalling. In 2014, a study done by YouGov found that New York was the safest of 16 large cities to hitch a cab. In comparison, a woman or girl is murdered every 18 hours in Argentina, primarily from sexual assault on public transport.
“Ninety-nine sexual assault cases,” Javier Miglino, lawyer and founder of NGO Let's Defend Buenos Aires told MotherBoard, “are done by taxi drivers." In Karachi, 55% of female commuters who use public transport face sexual harassment, according to University of Karachi (KU) public administration department Professor Syeda Hoor Ul Ain.
The 2014 YouGov study reported that female passengers are regularly harassed in Delhi, Bogota, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Lima. America may be relatively safe, but a 2014 article in The Daily Beast recapped multiple instances of sexual harassment from male Uber drivers. Meanwhile, UK newspaper The Guardian reported that reports of sexual assault in the UK have risen by 20% between 2014 and 2017, while the Wall Street Journal described a 6% increase in incidents between 2014 and 2015.
It’s no surprise that women, both drivers and passengers, are looking for an option like Pink Taxi that prioritizes their safety. However, the question remains... why do women have to take themselves out of spaces shared by men? Shouldn’t men be educated or risk the consequences? “I like the idea of the taxi service,” notes Huffington Post blogger, Soraya Chemaly.
“It offers a momentary respite. I hate it because that respite, useless to another woman, dissolves the minute a person exits the car. What if she can’t afford the car? What if the car drops her off at home where her ex-boyfriend rapes her? What if her housemate does?” Zerlina Maxwell topped off the complaint with a provocative suggestion. We have to teach boys not to rape, or grow up to abuse children and women whom they feel they own.
Create such a world and we don’t need Pink Taxi. What do you think?