SINGAPORE: The National Taxi Association (NTA) is considering setting up a special interest group for its women drivers.
The association said the interest group can be a platform for women drivers to share experiences and provide advice for new cabbies, and this could possibly draw more women to take up the profession.
Judy Song, who has been driving a taxi for two years, said she has had her share of unpleasant experiences -- including being propositioned for sex by a tourist.
Judy Song, a Comfort taxi driver, said: "I just ignored him. Try to keep quiet, don't reply -- if you reply, (he might get the impression that) you are interested too."
However, the general sense is that being a taxi driver in Singapore is still generally safe, and many do not want to go through the inconvenience of making a police report as it means some loss of income for them as well.
Irene Kee, a CityCab taxi driver, said: "I feel that it's quite safe in Singapore. It's quite safe for lady drivers, sometimes men passengers also respect us."
The number of cases reported by women taxi drivers against unruly passengers has been low.
Over the last three years, four out of a total of 50 reported cases were from women drivers. Two cases were for robbery and the other two for outrage of modesty.
The NTA believes the relatively safe environment may have contributed to more women opting to get behind the wheel.
Singapore's biggest taxi company ComfortDelgro Corp, which runs Comfort and CityCab, has about 840 women cabbies on its books. This is an increase of 20 per cent from three years ago.
The company has about 16,000 taxis on the road.
Another company, Premier Taxi has about 90 women drivers, and 60 per cent of them are relief drivers.
And an interest group may be useful for these growing numbers.
Ang Hin Kee, NTA advisor, said: "We can probably design activities that are more suitable for them. Perhaps, even talks or workshops by police or others to advise them on safety measures. Even to the extent of considering whether they (women drivers) can exchange information and guide new female drivers in order to share their experiences."
Taxi driver Judy Song said: "Yes, it's a very good idea that we can share with each other. Let's say (if) we run into trouble, or problems, we can call them (other women cabbies) and ask for help."
For now, the association is considering working with existing informal groups, or combining them into a common interest group.
And this is an initiative which it will be exploring seriously in 2014. - CNA/nd
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