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2-min read

Equality on Wheels: Indore Gets its Own Cab Service Driven and Operated by Women

The cabs will be stationed at Indore’s Devi Ahilya International Airport and can be booked either through a dedicated counter there or over the phone.

Vivek Trivedi | News18

Updated:November 6, 2019, 6:59 PM IST
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Equality on Wheels: Indore Gets its Own Cab Service Driven and Operated by Women
At present, rides are being offering rides to women fliers, senior citizens and people travelling with families. (News18)

Indore: Striving for gender equality through respectful livelihood options is not very tough after all and an Indore-based voluntary organisation understands it well.

After training women as professional mechanics and chauffeurs, it has introduced a cab service in the city that would be completely operated by the new professionals.

Though the service was kicked off on Monday with three women-driven cabs, the organisation plans to introduce at least 15 such vehicles soon. The cabs would be stationed at Indore's Devi Ahilya International Airport and can be booked either through a dedicated counter there or over phone.

The firm has already started offering rides to women fliers, senior citizens and people travelling with families, said Rajendra Bandhu, director of Samaan Social Development Society that has partnered with a private company, Sakha Consulting Wings. The latter runs similar services in New Delhi, Jaipur and Kolkata.

Bandhu said the demand for women-operated cabs has been a long-standing one. The organisation is looking for a third woman employee to join the two others working at the airport booking office and turn it into an all-women kiosk. Besides taking care of the safety of women passengers, the NGO has tried to ensure the safety of their drivers as well.

WhatsApp Image 2019-11-06 at 15.07.22

(The kiosk at the airport)

For this, it has sought help from the state judo association that trained the drivers in martial arts (self defence) and has installed a panic button in cabs. When pressed, these send an alert to the nearest police station, control room and the society's members.

The drivers are also equipped with different sprays to ward off trouble-makers. Besides, the cabs are monitored through GPS.

“Since 2015, we have imparted training to 250 women and almost half of them are working as professional drivers with leading hotels, Indore Municipal Corporation and with leading physicians and other clients,” said Bandhu.

A few of them are even driving mini-trucks engaged in garbage collection on behalf of the municipal corporation. Many of those trained in automobile mechanics have been employed at leading automobile showrooms in the city, while some of them have joined hands to set up garages.

Claiming that technical jobs not only fetch handsome returns financially, Bandhu said these jobs help women lead a life of dignity and foray into areas which have remained inaccessible to them until now.

“We strictly ask our clients to engage women trained by us in professional and official work and keep them away from domestic work,” said the NGO director, adding that they soon plan to train women as electricians.

One of the new drivers, Ankita Rathore, told News18 the response till now has been warm and her clients were delighted to find a woman behind the wheels.

A few even offered to promote their services. On being asked about feeling comfortable driving at night, she said given the congested roads of Indore during the day, evening or night hours appear to be more convenient.

“With all the safety gears offered by the cab service, I think safety is not an issue for us,” she said. The young driver also claimed that drivers of the existing cab service are supportive and encouraging.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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