Moscow pink or Kitty Taxi Sky Blue Pink

February 18, 2007


Pink taxi cab services are topical in several countries with their appeal, concerns and preoccupations differing slightly in each.

Dismissed by many in the taxi industry as a novelty service and a passing fad, the pink taxi business is thriving in Russia, and a Moscow based service started by two women are expanding their fleet of taxis to meet the exploding demand for a taxi service that caters to women and uses only women drivers.

Women perceive a safer driving experience with a female driver at the wheel, particularly given the dangers women have faced in using licensed taxi services there.

Starting out with two Daewoo Nexias the company is rapidly expanding it’s fleet of taxis and considering upgrading to Volvos to keep pace with the increasing demand for it’s services.

Part of the popularity of the pink taxi service in all countries is the perception that women drivers are safer and a better risk.

Last year Dubai authorities also announced plans for taxis with pink seats, roofs and interiors, promoting the vehicles to transport women and children in female driven cabs to and from the places they are most likely to go, free of the discomfort of being driven in male driven taxis.

The commonality across all cultures is the perception that women only taxi services deliver a safe and more pleasurable driving experience. The service has been maligned for manifesting and re-inforcing gender based discrimination in some countries.

The spectre of Barbie female only departure lounges at airports has been raised, with the pink pundits once again weighing in with their views on the appropriateness of the use of the colour pink.

I have yet to see any complaints from male customers of Pink Car Tools Kit about only supplying it in pink, or refusing to ship to customers declaring themselves to be male.

Yet pink taxi services falls afoul of anti discrimination laws in the UK, so to use the service females must be registered as members.

Enter Kitty taxi……

Unless you have been living under a rock, you would have noticed the obscene growth in the pet product and ancillary pet services market, courtesy of some well known celebrities.

The Kitty Taxi, to resolve any confusion, isn’t a service to transport your feckless feline to the movies or the beach in, although no doubt we could probably locate such a service with little effort in California.

Many a feline has been known to protest vehemently against being transported to some undesirable destination like the vet, or to take the example of our Californian cat owner, either cat obedience school or cat cognitive behavioural therapy.

Perhaps there is a lesson in this which the head of Kanachu picked up when launching the Kitty Taxi last April. The taxi service also cleverly avoids the pink stereotype by using pale blue or pale pink.

The demand for the the Kitty Taxi in Japan presumably doesn’t come directly from children, just as your feline doesn’t get on the phone and press ‘c’ for cab with their paw when deciding to go out and paint the town pink.

Those affluent enough to take a ride in Hello Kitty Paradise are more likely to be the children’s mothers accompanying their young children or young ladies wanting to ride in style. Hello Kitty cabs still represent a small slice of the larger fleet of taxis servicing Tokyo. The rates are the same as other taxis but only for the first two kilometres.

Whilst pitched at ladies and young children, the marketers at Kanachu candidly confess they hope that the mothers of children will use it when faced with tearful objections from their children about going to kindergarten.

After all, littleKeiko’s tears are more likely to melt away when she steps into a Kitty Taxi, receives Hello Kitty freebies to placate her, and listens to Hello Kitty music to distract her mind from the sound of the dentist’s drill which awaits her at the other end of her journey. There are even hello kitty kleenex for her to wipe her tears away.

The other obvious priority is safety and women make advance bookings to ensure there is reliable and safe transport awaiting them when their train pulls into the station. The safety of women on trains in Japan is also a significant concern.

The expectant child passenger is treated to a pleasurable experience in either a baby pink or blue hello kitty car adorned with hello kitty paraphernalia.

The licensing deal was conditional upon Kanachu using only female drivers and having a smoke free environment so that the Hello Kitty image wasn’t tarnished.


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