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CBC News — 'I felt unsafe': Indigenous safe-ride service for women can't keep up with need

 
Christine Brouzes, co-director of Ikwe Safe Rides, said many passengers share stories about inappropriate sexual comments in taxis and some have had violent encounters. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

Christine Brouzes, co-director of Ikwe Safe Rides, said many passengers share stories about inappropriate sexual comments in taxis and some have had violent encounters. (Stephanie Cram/CBC)

"We exist because we want to provide a safe alternative transportation for women of all backgrounds and cultures and ages and economic statuses in our city. And that shouldn't be growing," Brouzes said. "That mandate should be met and not need to exist anymore."

Brouzes said she had hoped changes to regulation within the industry itself would mean safer rides. Instead, new legislation last November — paving the way for ride-hailing companies like Uber — dissolved the Manitoba Taxicab Board, which regulated the industry.

Indigenous activist Leah Gazan had joined the board to help improve its relationship with the Indigenous community. The previous legislation governing taxis was "archaic," Gazan said, but she's now concerned there is no oversight.

"I totally understand why women are taking charge of our own safety because it's pretty clear that things are not safe, and it hasn't been taken seriously enough," she said.

Responsibility has fallen to local municipalities. City of Winnipeg regulations say concerns over service levels, including inappropriate comments from drivers, are directed to the cab companies, and criminal complaints go to police.

Back behind the wheel, Hartog said she hopes one day all rides will be safe. Until then, she will keep volunteering to show her daughters it takes a community to protect women.

"I want to bring this to my girls and to make sure that they will help whenever they see someone in need."

 
 

Source

CBC News. (2014, August 08). First Nations threaten legal action, blockades if funding cut | CBC News. Retrieved January 13, 2019, from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/first-nations-threaten-legal-action-blockades-if-funding-cut-1.2731477

 
ArticleKarl Patton