If you live in or around Beirut, you might have seen one of these pink Peugeots being driven around by women in white shirts and pink ties. A highly unusual phenomenon — not the attire, but women driving taxis or “services.” Nayaghi Banet Taxi (Nayaghi girls’ taxi), as the name evinces, serves only women or women accompanied by their families. When I mentioned the idea to a friend of mine, his knee-jerk reaction was to lament what this country is coming to and to complain about the segregation of the sexes inspired by the demands of our Gulfite tourists. Pink taxis, after all, are current in the UAE.
Perhaps. But that is not all there is to Nayaghi taxi. To begin with, it is owned and run by a woman and based in Dekwaneh. As far as inspiration goes, the websites cites the imagery of Pink Ladies’ Cabs, launched in the UK in 2006 to get party-going women home late at night. Pink Cabs can also be found in South Africa and Australia.
But of course, let us not forget the Lebanese flare or that Lebanese version of female emancipation that refuses to go without makeup. When I asked the lady driver in the pink tie for a card, this is what I received: