By Muath Freij Jordan Times, Amman.
Noor Jordan for Transport -- Taxi Moumayaz will start operating hybrid vehicles in the capital driven by women by the end of this month, the company's chairman, Eid Abu Al Haj, said Monday.
He noted that the 20 taxis operated by female drivers will be among 30 hybrid vehicles to be included in the company's fleet.
"We are in the process of choosing women to train them and provide them with the necessary licences. They will not drive around the capital; their jobs will be assigned through our call centre," Abu Al Haj told The Jordan Times over the phone.
"Their working hours will run from the early morning until 8pm so that we respect our culture. The women drivers will receive the order and go to pick up the passenger," he added.
Jordanians interviewed by The Jordan Times commended the initiative.
Nour Eid, a university student, said this move will make her family more comfortable with her using taxis.
"For my part, I don't mind, but I think it [female-driven taxis] is much better because there can be a communication problem between the driver and the passenger. Any driver needs to be able to communicate with any segment of the society," Eid told The Jordan Times.
Shima Al Tal said although she is against gender segregation, the difficulties some women have faced in dealing with taxi drivers make this idea an attractive solution.
"It would be much safer for women, especially for those who don't have cars and need to use a taxi late in the evening to return home from work," she added.
Abu Al Haj said the company will also operate 100 electric vehicles in Amman that will be introduced into the market gradually.
"The fare will be lower than those of regular taxis because their expenses are lower," he added.
Ayman Smadi, executive director of the transport and traffic department at the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), said the electric vehicles will be based at the Raghadan complex in downtown Amman, stressing that priority has been given to the city centre due to the lack of parking spaces.
Smadi said the electric taxis, which are being introduced in cooperation with Taxi Moumayaz with the aim of alleviating traffic jams in the capital and encouraging people to use public transport, will be operated under the slogan "Tawseelah" (pick up), which was created by Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji.
GAM recently signed an agreement with the French firm Hyseo International to set up 10 electric car charging stations in Amman with the support of the French government, according to a GAM statement.
The municipality received a 430,000 euro grant from the French government under a memorandum of understanding to finance the establishment of the stations in the capital, the statement said.