Stands with Women for Cab Reform
BOSTON—Thursday, August 22, 2013—Following recent crimes involving unlicensed taxi drivers attacking female clients, Representative Marty Walsh, proposed today that as Mayor he would require all Boston taxi cabs to share uniform appearance practices. This would mean licensed cabs could be more easily identified, thereby decreasing the potential for violent incidents involving unlicensed taxis.
“I will do whatever it takes to limit predators’ opportunities to commit violent acts against women via the taxi system, or any other means,” said Representative Walsh in a statement. “We owe it to the women of Boston and all residents to address this issue. It can’t wait any longer.”
Uniform taxi appearance is currently the practice in New York City, Washington D.C, and many European cities.
In recent weeks, two women were picked up and then attacked by unlicensed cab drivers in two separate incidents. On Tuesday, August 6, a woman in South Boston hailed a cab in the Seaport District and was driven to a deserted area in Newton, where she was raped. The second attack occurred on Sunday, August 18, in Allston. These recent crimes highlight a citywide problem with unlicensed taxis, which can only result in dangerous situations and a loss of the sense of security for the women of Boston.
These are by no means the first incidents of sexual assault involving unlicensed cabs in Boston. A few years ago Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) did a survey and found that many women in the Boston area felt unsafe in taxis. One of the reasons for their uneasiness identified in the survey is the difficulty distinguishing licensed from unlicensed livery vehicles. This information led to a unique partnership that included BARCC, a female Captain Detective in the Boston Police Department, Suffolk University’s Graduate School of Marketing, and Mass Art. This team proposed a system of uniform appearance for Boston taxis to City Hall. In their proposal for Boston, the artists from Mass Art even incorporated Boston sports teams’ colors into their proposed design for Boston taxis.
This proposal, despite the imagination and ingenuity of the four partners, was set aside by City Hall. Representative Walsh pledges to change that outcome as Mayor, to ensure that all residents remain safe and retain their peace of mind in the City of Boston.