KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27, 2011 (AFP) - Malaysia has launched a fleet of women-only taxis, an initiative that follows pink-coloured train coaches and buses aimed at shielding women from harassment, reports said Sunday.
Fifty women taxi drivers have started plying greater Kuala Lumpur on an on-call basis, and the government hopes the number of special taxis will expand to 400, The Star and the New Straits Times dailies reported.
Heng Seai Kei, deputy minister for Women, Family and Community Development, was quoted as saying the taxis made travelling safer for women, as well as providing jobs for women who wanted to be taxi drivers.
"We hope it will reduce the number of rape and robbery cases involving taxi drivers and female victims," Heng was quoted as saying at the launch of the service.
Late last year, Malaysia's state-owned bus company began running female-only buses on several routes in Kuala Lumpur during peak hours to help counter sexual harassment on crowded public transport.
They followed ladies-only pink train carriages launched on the transport system to give the women in the Muslim-majority country the option of travelling separately from men.