Mission Statement (and hi!)

Unsafe Cabs hopes to provide resources, support and information for those who want to help make travelling in cabs safer for women. Unsafe Cabs asserts that our public spaces belong to women too, and too many of us have been propositioned, threatened, harassed or assaulted by taxi drivers when travelling alone. The idea is that together we build a one-stop resource with links to the appropriate organisations and advice about how to proceed if you wish to make a complaint. These processes vary from state to state and we’ll try to account for that too.

We thought a good start would involve publishing clear guidelines on the rights and responsibilities of passengers, the rights and responsibilities of drivers, and the options you have when you feel your rights have been overlooked or abused by a cab driver. We can hopefully provide directions for how to make complaints to a) the cab company, b) the appropriate public transport directorates or consumer groups, c) the police and/or d) community legal services if you want to take further action in court.

Our hope is that sharing and focusing this information in one place will empower women and remind them that they’re not alone, give them the facts they need to take it further, and create a broad base of pressure on taxi providers to crack down on this behaviour in the industry. We’ll also connect with other organisations and movements like SlutWalk, Reclaim the Night, Hollaback Melbourne and Melbourne Feminist Action, to share and access other ideas.

To be absolutely clear, Unsafe Cabs does not seek to imply that only women feel unsafe in cabs. Obviously, many people (including queer and trans folk, people of colour, people of disability, the elderly and many other groups) feel unsafe in cabs and experience ill treatment at the hands of drivers who abuse their rights. Unsafe Cabs hopes to be attentive to these issues while focusing on the experiences of women, and creating a safe space for women to seek support and assistance. Hate speech, triggering language and derailing of women’s concerns will not be tolerated here.

A further point of clarification that matters a great deal is the assertion that Unsafe Cabs in no way wants to demonise all cab drivers. It’s a difficult and systemically unfair industry to work in, and drivers are often themselves working in conditions of heightened danger and risk of abuse and attack. We take that seriously, and also want to reiterate how many good men and women work as taxi drivers and acquit themselves every day with integrity, fairness, kindness and care. Driving taxis can be a lifeline for many, helping to establish whole families, paying for further education, and breaking out of poverty cycles. It’s a profession that many take seriously and with good reason – getting people where they need to go safely and swiftly is a fine aim, and we all know how reassuring and cheering it is to find yourself in a clean cab with a friendly, efficient driver. So likewise, Unsafe Cabs will not tolerate hate speech or offensive generalisations about cab drivers, no matter how angry or upset your experiences have made you.

That said, this should be a place with one broad aim – making cabs safer. We’ll have guest posts from different commentators and experts, and we’ll post advice, strategies and tips for making your taxi travel safer and less scary. Hopefully by communicating these fears and solutions with one another we’ll go some way to connecting women through their experiences and making you feel less alone.

Karen x

9 thoughts on “Mission Statement (and hi!)

  1. Kudos to you, Karen! As someone who has had her fair share of offensive comments/leers from cab drivers, this is an excellent resource. For all of us. Love your work x

  2. I’d like to make a small donation to support the costs of this initiative. Can you please put a Paypal donate button on the site or tell me some other way that I can donate.

  3. My family use PERSONALIZED CABS. All drivers are trained in Occupational Health and Safety. They have only drivers over 50 years of age who have “”life experience””.

  4. I know a driver who has been charged before but found not guilty. It is imperative that your site does not name anyone unless they are convicted because there is a lot of vindictiveness in the taxi industry

  5. South Australia had a large number of sexual assaults a couple of years ago prompting large numbers to be placed on the side of Taxis so the victim could identify which Taxi she was in at the time of the assault.

  6. “Taxi authorities are receiving about three complaints a month from female passengers, ranging from sexually intimidating behaviour to assault.” Well my wife says she gets at least three unwanted uncomfortable suggestions by taxi drivers a month. She has not put a complaint in despite my urgings.

    What really gets me upset is the Taxi Code of Conduct written up by Professor Allen Fells’s organisation after the Taxi Inquiry. It was all about expect passenger behaviour. There was not one word about driver conduct towards passengers. When public comments were requested, I replied but did not receive any feedback and don’t know if there were any changes.

    I’m actually bewildered why passengers do not complain more. Perhaps they do but these are not even recorded.

  7. Hello Karen, I run the largest taxi driver training school in Melbourne. A major part of the training is dedicated to the safety of the taxi industry; both for drivers and the travelling public. I would like to add a few obviously little known facts about the things it is essential to know when using taxis:
    1. Melbourne taxis use a camera that records everything in the taxi for 3 days at a time, it then automatically writes over the first day. A driver has no access to this sealed unit.
    2. The taxi companies do not handle serious complaints, these should all be directed to the Taxi Services Commission on these numbers only: 9320 4300 or 1800 638 802.
    3. All passengers should type the number of the taxi into an SMS on their mobile phone when entering a taxi; the number is clearly visible on the rear doors of the vehicle. This ensures that should there be an issue develop, the passenger will have the correct car details. The SMS should be sent to a close person who will have that recorded. If a situation should arise, the taxi you were travelling in can be found and you can also advise the driver that you have already sent his car number to a third party.

    I compliment you on your initiative and I take you at your word to also protect the honest taxi drivers, as they do a good job of looking after both genders; especially after a night on the town. I will also offer my services as an industry expert of over 30 years experience. Ray

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