Catering to a specific group is a great way to enter a saturated market of transportation. That’s how PinkTaxi became a successful ride-hailing business in Cairo, Egypt. Read up on how this women-only taxi service grows by fighting discrimination on the roads.
Women-only taxi service in Egypt: meet PinkTaxi
All-female ride-share services are popular there where women don’t feel completely safe around male cab drivers. Unfortunately, that’s almost everywhere in the world. Local entrepreneurs see it as a gap in the market. Today’s example is PinkTaxi, a women-only taxi service in Cairo.
Reem Fawzi founded PinkTaxi in 2015. The idea came to her because the problem with traditional taxis was obvious. First of all, they weren’t safe enough for local women—the chances to be harrassed are high. Second, taking a ride with a traditional cab requires bargaining, knowing the route, and being constantly on guard, which makes them unsafe for female tourists, too.
So Reem has launched the women-only taxi service. It became one of the major projects of the local shareholding company Remo Tour. Reem’s belief in changing things and making city life safer for female passengers has inspired her to create a female-only ride-sharing app to connect female commuters to female drivers. A traditional taxi wouldn’t have worked in this case. Thorough background checks are required to work with PinkTaxi and even to take a ride with it. Booking software allows automating a huge part of this process.
Because Reem believes in women’s ability to bring about change when given the opportunity, she has chosen to train female cab drivers for PinkTaxi. Right now, 79 cars are working exclusively for the service, and the company anticipates future growth.
What’s at heart of good all-female rideshare service?
Reem shares, however, that the name “taxi” doesn’t fit her all-female rideshare service quite well. She sees the company as VIP service, more a limousine than a plain cab. The word “taxi” was initially used to increase brand awareness among the general public and make it understandable for international female passengers.
Being the first of its kind all-female ride-share service in Egypt also helps PinkTaxi to position the brand in the market. When working in a saturated market, launching services that fulfill the demand among a particular category of users is one of the smartest moves. If you’re thinking of launching a ride-hailing service in a market that has several strong competitors already, working with the needs of a niche market is often the most profitable solution.
The company works solely with pre-orders. Customers need to submit a scan of their ID for PinkTaxi to be able to guarantee safety for their female cab drivers. This emphasis on pre-ordering makes PinkTaxi especially great in providing transfer services. PinkTaxi’s parent company, Rimo Tours, is known for its strong business partnerships with international companies such as Booking.com, Expedia, Amadeus. PinkTaxi provides transportation to female passengers who use these services only. This way, the company caters reliable and safe taxi services to women visiting Egypt.
Marketing all-female ride-share service
A no-nonsense approach to marketing to appeal to the audience in combination with establishing strong business partnerships is the key to PinkTaxi's top performance. For instance, being a perfect service for tourists, PinkTaxi made sure to be boldly represented on such traveling outlets as TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet. This way, the company makes sure its all-female ride-share service is known among Western female visitors of Egypt.
Another trick the company uses to increase brand recognition is vehicle branding. While traditional taxis in Cairo are just black or white, PinkTaxi is—well, you can guess—bright pink. The company’s female cab drivers wear neat uniforms in brand colors. This way, PinkTaxi makes sure they really stand out in traffic.
Social media presence is an essential part of PinkTaxi’s marketing strategy, too. Fostering active and involved communities on Facebook and Instagram allows the company to reach out to more than 30.000 loyal customers daily. This makes the community of the app’s users vibrant, but also yields PinkTaxi insights into what customers need and love about the service.
Dedicated and professional employees are the core of PinkTaxi’s success. To work successfully, every new female cab driver gets initial training before getting to work. An essential part of this training is gaining assertiveness. As female cab drivers often get harassed or made fun of by male drivers. The initial training in PinkTaxi teaches future drivers to deal with such attitudes and challenge everyday discrimination. According to the company’s founder, this is the contribution PinkTaxi makes to create more job market opportunities for women.
Women with various backgrounds work at PinkTaxi as cab drivers. One of them is even a former flight attendant. Such diversity makes working at the company inspiring for newbies. New female cab drivers at the company can count on getting all the support they need with mastering the driving, the booking apps, and get assistance in any critical situation. While the company’s long-term goal is to smash gender discrimination on the roads, the drivers show how local transportation can be made safer for female passengers and drivers already.
The company receives some critique as women-only taxi services are often seen as passively maintaining women's segregation. This is generally apt—as a society, we should rather teach men not to harass women than to teach women to book their own all-female ride-share services. However, in the short-term, grasping the existing opportunities to empower women sounds very much like a clever thing to do. After all, we can’t wait until all the social challenges sort themselves out.
As the company’s founder Reem Fawzi repeatedly tells in her interviews, one can wait endlessly for a perfect chance to launch a business or just grab the opportunities that are out there. The PinkTaxi might not be the ultimate solution to discrimination, but it does contribute to solving this problem on a local level. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we?