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Women Friendly Transportation SystemTerm Paper

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¶ … Public Transportation for Women

Women Friendly Transportation System

Many cities throughout the world are making efforts to make taxi services more women-friendly. Both men and women utilize taxi services in many large cities, especially in areas they are not familiar with. In a sense, utilizing a taxi service can be scary, because the individual may not be familiar with the area that the taxi driver is driving them through or what they will run into along the way, but in most cases, taking a taxi seems like the safe way to go for individuals who don't know their way around or don't want to fight heavy traffic. In the United States, taxi services are more readily utilized in large cities such as Chicago, New York City and San Francisco.

Some cities throughout the world are going as far as to have taxi services that are specifically and exclusively for women. For example, in Pueblo, Mexico, the city announced the availability of women-only taxi services in November, 2009. This type of transportation has been designed to offer a friendly form of transportation to women in the area. This particular service offers a fleet of 35 pink Chevy cars that are only driven by women. Each cab is equipped with beauty kits, GPS and emergency panic buttons. The service runs 24-hours a day and helps women passengers avoid the uncomfortable and unnecessary harassment sometimes made by male drivers.

This same concept has been implemented in various other countries, including the UK, Moscow, Dubai and Teheran. Moscow launched their pink taxi service in 2006 and in Dubai, women-only taxi service began in January, 2007; now women-only taxis are available in Iran. The number one reason all of these places are offering women-friendly taxi services is for reasons of safety. These types of taxi services not only help address safety issues, but they also help in creating flexible jobs for local area women. One of the main issues these pink taxi services are fighting revolves around anti-discrimination laws; however, one must question the idea that a pink taxi with a woman driver and a woman passenger may also throw a red flag out to a law breaker. This type of service seems like a really good idea initially, but it is it truly safer for the women drivers and the women passengers if everyone who is looking at the taxi knows that there is not a man present, only two vulnerable women. It stands to reason that a criminal may seek these particular taxi cabs as targets.

Bus transportation is the next main form of public transportation offered throughout the world. In the United States, only bigger cities have decent bus services. Bus services may be available on a limited basis in smaller cities and towns, but mainly the metropolitan cities offer the most valuable and well-used service. In smaller cities, bus services may be available, but only at certain times throughout the day. Individuals trying to make it to work on time may end up having to leave two to three hours early, because that is the only bus service available from one area to another. On that same token, the individual may be home from work much later than anticipated, depending on the number of stops or connection switches.

Cities like Seoul are establishing additional bus stops in order to provide safer commutes for women passengers traveling late at night. Buses will make these additional stops so that passengers, specifically women passengers, do not have to walk as far upon exiting and entering the bus. In some more isolated residential areas, passengers must walk a long distance to reach their final destination. These additional stops often have to be planned out ahead of time (passengers need to notify the driver of the stop), but are meant to allow women passengers to be closer to their final destination and to walk a shorter distance. Signs are set up along bus stops to encourage use of safer stops for females. Finally, Seoul buses will also be designating specific seats for pregnant women who are passengers on the bus. Designated seats will also be available for nursing mothers.

Bus stops are the next important part of making public transportation safer. Many women are not only afraid of riding on the bus, but are afraid of sitting alone in a bus shelter while they wait for the bus to arrive. Research studies have been completed regarding public transportation safety and women's views of it in San Francisco. What the studies find is that most women feel more unsafe sitting in a bus stop than they do sitting on the bus. Women who knew that there was a camera on-site did not feel more comforted. Making bus stops safer is extremely important, but transportation planners are still working on this. One thing that has been suggested is that planners take women's voices into consideration when it comes to making bus stops themselves safer.

The city of Iksan in Jeollabuk-do has now designated pink parking spots specifically for women drivers looking for a place to park in public parking lots. The city has 25 parking spots like this available in public lots, including at city hall and the library. By the end of 2009, the city made plans to install an additional 670 pink parking spots in 21 parking lots throughout the metropolitan area. Parking spots are painting using pink lines with a pink flower in the middle. Though these parking spots are generous to the population, the creators still don't get the idea of equality since the spots are purposefully made wider than normal parking spots to aid "unskilled" women drivers with easier parking. Additionally, the city will install 34 street lights and 194 guard lamps in areas of the city that are considered to have higher crime rates in an attempt to create safer streets.

In February of 2008, London announced women-friendly train carriages with guards on duty after 9:00 P.M. across London's underground network. Proposals were also made to put teams of police guards on late-night buses, because the bus system has a high record of violence and antisocial behavior. The main focus of such measures is to create a safer public transportation environment for women passengers.

Mexico City is now offering women-only bus services. Mexico City has already been focusing on women-only train services. This newer program regarding bus services is referred to as the Athena Program. Each bus that partakes in the Athena Program has a pink sign on the front, which distinguishes them from other buses. There are approximately 22 women-only buses in Mexico City, serving several busy routes each day. Women requested this service prior to 2008, because of sexual harassment, particularly groping and leering. Women-only buses and subway systems have also popped up in Egypt, India, Brazil, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan.

Seoul has launched a complete women-friendly transportation program with the hopes of making local area transportation safer and women-friendly. Additionally, there are plans to produce a women-friendly parking area and a women-privileged parking lot. These lots will have security alarm systems, along with underground parking areas and women-friendly restrooms available.

There are many challenges with women-friendly public transportation. For example, many large cities in several countries are offering women-friendly taxi cabs. These cabs are painted bright pink and are driven by women drivers and they only pick up women passengers. These types of programs have been implemented in order to help cut down on women-targeted crimes and to make women feel safer in utilizing this type of public transportation, but could it pose as even more dangerous? If a criminal sets out to victimize a woman and he sees a bright pink cab driving through the city, will it stop him from jumping in the cab or pulling out a weapon? Some of these cabs may be equipped with GPS tracking and panic buttons, but what if someone can't hit the panic button fast enough or what if a thief makes off with a woman's purse or belongings before the police arrive? These types of questions are realistic, because it could happen. By painting the cabs bright pink, it's a red flag for someone who is looking for criminal activity.

Some cities are offering women-only buses or offering women-designated seats on trains and buses. The next problem with this is whether or not the bus drivers will be able to enforce these seats. For example, many popular family-friendly stores in the U.S. offer senior citizen parking, as well as pregnant mom parking spots, which are close to the entrance, but stores are unable to enforce the proper use of these spots. Unless the store has a designated handicap parking spot, all parking spots are fair game to all shoppers. Senior citizen and expectant mother parking spots are simply a suggestion and can really be nothing more. The stores can't legally enforce that the spots are being used the way they want them to be and even… [END OF PREVIEW]

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