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Last Updated: Friday, 10 June, 2005, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
Star launches women only cab firm
Kerry Katona (centre) with Pink Ladies founders  Andrea Winders (l) and Tina Dutton (r)
Kerry Katona with the founders of Pink Ladies
A new women only taxi firm was launched on Friday by former Atomic Kitten star Kerry Katona in Warrington.

Pink Ladies, which has a women only policy on drivers and passengers, operates on a members' only basis to avoid sex discrimination laws.

"I always feel so much safer when it is a woman driver. It's all about peace of mind and safety," said Ms Katona.

Franchises have already been bought in Brighton, Newcastle and across north-west England.

Pink leather

Ms Katona, who posed for pictures on one of its fleet of 14 pink Renault Kangoos with pink leather interior, said: "I once nodded off in the back of a cab after a night out and luckily the driver knew who I was and where I lived.

"I was very lucky - anything could have happened to me in that situation."

The firm was founded by Tina Dutton - a family friend of Katona's - and Andrea Winders.

"The vast majority of taxi drivers are safe and reliable, but there has been a rise in recent years in serious sexual assaults against women, who are often travelling in an unlicensed minicab, late at night," said Ms Dutton.

Sexual assaults

"We want to provide women with the choice of having the extra peace of mind of a woman driver."

The company, which donates 10% of its profits to breast cancer research, has been endorsed by the personal safety charity The Suzy Lamplugh Trust.

"Anything that helps people to be aware of the dangers of unlicensed mini cabs has our backing," said a spokeswoman for the trust.

"The fact that there are women who have become members of this taxi service is showing that they are thinking about how they will get home and that is definitely something we would support."

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