Taxi drivers dropping off women in Bilbao are now required to ensure their customers are safely indoors before driving off, thanks to a new bye-law aimed at improving people’s safety on the streets.
Cabbies are also obliged to wait for parents with small children, the elderly, and those with mobility or eyesight problems to get inside their homes before leaving them, irrespective of gender.
For the able-bodied, the young and those not accompanying children, the law only expects taxi drivers to watch for women’s safe entry, although it is likely many will also do the same for men in any case.
The city council says cabbies have always tended to do this anyway with those who may be particularly vulnerable, or at night or during extreme weather conditions, purely out of a sense of moral duty, but this is now enshrined in local regulations, making it a customer’s right, not just a favour.
Although Spain, even its metropolitan areas, and including Bilbao are statistically among the safest places in the world, councillor for mobility and sustainability Alfonso Gil wants to ensure the Basque port city remains that way and customers are at less risk of being attacked, robbed or raped between the taxi and their front door.
Taxis are among the most-used form of public transport in Bilbao, and Gil says the service is ‘excellent’ and of ‘high quality’.
Bilbao has already hit the headlines for its personal safety measures – particularly its decision to increase the number of bus stops so passengers would be closer to the safety of their homes and workplaces when they got on and off.