Taxi drivers in Dundee have been left in uproar following suggestions by the council’s city development convener that other methods of travelling could be safer for women. Councillor Lynne Short made the comments at a media event ahead of the launch of the city’s first electric rickshaw last week. Short said the new vehicles were “quirky” and suggested that they could actually be safer than regular taxis for women to use.
Her comments have left taxi drivers working in the city outraged, as they claim the statement insinuated that taxis are somehow unsafe.
Councillor Short has now defended her comments by insisting she meant it can often be unsafe for women to walk from pubs and nightclubs to taxi ranks without shoes on — and so rickshaws are a safer alternative for transport to the ranks.
Taxi driver Jim Harris, told the Courier he feared women could be put off using cabs after reading the comments. Harris said a lot of drivers were unhappy with the comments, pointing out that all taxi drivers have to pass strict tests making them a safe way to travel. He said: “I was absolutely raging when I first saw it. She should be promoting taxis." Drivers feel that Short's comments could be damaging to the trade, but in clarifying her comments, she said she was referring to wandering without shoes on from, "for instance, a nightclub to a taxi rank." In an attempt to build bridges with taxi drivers she said: “So many times, if it wasn’t for taxi drivers, I wouldn’t get home in one piece."
She added that she has never felt "unsafe" in a taxi and called them the "angels of the street."