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A new white paper shows that women pay a “pink tax” because they have fewer mass transit options due to safety concerns and caring for children and the elderly.
Women are often subjected to gender-based price discrimination known as the "pink tax," causing them to be charged more for transportation than men, according to a white paper by New York University's Rudin Transportation Center and several groups.
The pink tax is a form of gender-based price discrimination concerning the upcharge women pay for specific products or services. The term is typically used with cosmetic and personal care products and services, like dry cleaning and haircuts, but it is also prevalent in transportation, the report says.
While women comprise more than half of riders, transportation agencies do not routinely consider women's travel routines, the report says. Women are three times as likely to be concerned for their safety on shared modes of transit, so they choose longer, more costly or less-efficient options. Also, women face “gender-based trauma” that can result in their preference for cars and taxis and not mass transit or bikes.
Moreover, about 61% of caregivers are women who are escorting children or the elderly with reduced travel options and added costs. These challenges often push women toward less sustainable and less energy-efficient choices, the report adds.
Key Steps for Expanding Women's Travel Options
More than 65 individuals participated in the workshops from 45 organizations, including from the transportation industry, universities, advocacy groups, law enforcement and housing authorities, to discuss solutions to the women’s transit problem, the report says. During the workshop, 70 possible solutions were discussed. The seven concepts the participants said could significantly change travel behaviors are:
- Incident reporting: Simplify the reporting process and explore app-based services.
- Shared micromobility designed for women: Expand fleets with new designs to accommodate women's needs, with deployment focused on off-peak and shorter-range trips.
- Inclusive trip planning: Include safety precautions in trip planning software.
- Station-specific applications: Engage local communities to crowdsource problems with custom-tailored solutions.
- Gender audit tool: Include a gender-lens review to score transit projects moving forward.
- Responsive lighting and accessible announcements: Ensure announcements are made in auditory and visual form to account for safety and usability for those with disabilities.
- Family fares: Create a singular payment option for families to ease cost burdens for caregivers.
For more information from the paper click here.
Andre Claudio is an assistant editor at Route Fifty.