CAIRO - A Canadian entrepreneur is mulling plans to launch a new business involving women-only cabs driven by female drivers that would satisfy women and particularly Muslim customers' needs.
"It's definitely going to be a small niche market but hopefully we can grow it," Dave Barnes, an entrepreneur in Saint John, NB, told Winnipeg Free Press on Saturday, December 31.
Barnes said women have been positive about the idea he came out with after speaking with his 21-year-old daughter.
"She got into a couple of cabs there with some guys and immediately had Oh no' moments," he said.
The concept is not specifically in response to sexual assault, he said.
"I know that there are some women who feel uncomfortable getting in a cab with a man," Barnes added.
The idea made headlines this week, and Barnes said a fleet could be on the road before March.
Yet, it wasn't immediately clear if Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms would permit such female-only service.
"I think that's a target market for me here," he said.
In an earlier interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC), Barnes said the idea has caught on in Europe and he thinks it could work in Saint John.
"In Europe, they're springing up all over the place," he said.
"And they're having a great deal of success in particular with the growing Muslim community, and I think that's a target market for me here."
The idea of women-only cabs is not the first in the world.
Last November, Malaysian women welcomed a fleet of female-only taxis that follows pink-colored train coaches and buses for protecting them against harassment and robbery.
The Muslim-majority country has previously introduced female-only buses last year on several routes in Kuala Lumpur during peak hours to help counter sexual harassment on crowded public transport.
That followed pink train carriages launched earlier to give women the option of travelling separately from men.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population, and Islam is the number one non-Christian faith in the Roman Catholic country.