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THE FARE SEX; Women-only taxi boss is accused of slur by her rival male cabbies.

Byline: CHARLIE GALL

A WOMEN-ONLY taxi service has sparked a battle of the sexes.

The Girls Taxi Service will have female drivers to handle hires from women.

Now male drivers are angry and believe their image is being tarnished.

But Judy Linsell, the woman behind the venture, in Elgin, Moray, denies the scheme smacks of sex discrimination or is a slur on male cabbies.

She said: "The only option open to women at present is to be driven home by a strange man in an enclosed space. Given the choice, most of them probably wouldn't take it."

Miss Linsell believes horror stories about male cabbies are influencing women looking for a cab at the end of a night out.

However, she said she does intend to employ male drivers for customers who express no preference.

She said:"I work with and love men. I just want to provide Moray women with a choice but some people are not happy about it."

She claims she has been harassed by male drivers since launching her plan.

She added: "I know the taxi business is an aggressive, male-orientated world, but I think this is a case of sour grapes.

"The only people who are complaining are other taxi companies and I am starting to feel a little intimidated.

"This is a case of sexism against me - a form of male chauvinism. But that's okay because I'm prepared for a battle."

Rival Elgin taxi operator Dave Oag plans to lodge a complaint with Moray Council to stop Miss Linsell's scheme.

He said: "This woman is giving out the message that all male taxi drivers are perverts. But everyone who wants to be a taxi driver is vetted by the police and council.

"This woman is instilling unnecessary fear into women. I'm sure there are unscrupulous female taxi drivers out there as well as the odd man."

Yesterday, Moray Council, who govern the granting of taxi licences in the area, said they had already told Miss Linsell she could not refuse clients simply for being male.

Solicitor Karen Wiles said: "Drivers are not entitled to refuse a fare unless the person is drunk or in some way unfit or obnoxious.

"I am satisfied she is aware of the licensing conditions. She is not intending to refuse males but her focus will be a female clientele.

"There are exceptions to the sex discrimination rules but it's not a licensing concern.

"After all, male drivers who have concerns about particular customers are entitled to refuse them."

Miss Linsell's licence application will be considered by Moray Council shortly.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 9, 2002
Words:430
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