Since the Uber Rape Case earlier this month, women are suspicious of pre-booked company cabs, which up until now were considered the safest mode of public transport by many. For those who don’t have their personal vehicles, not having an option of hiring these cabs means not stepping out of the house after dark (since buses and autos have already been ticked off our lists.) in order to address this, a host of agencies in Mumbai have started training women drivers in the city.
According to a report by Times of India, Mumbai will get 550 new female cab drivers this year. The women are being trained to drive cabs and ensure the safety of commuters, especially women, travelling alone from airports and railway stations etc. Many are also being trained in martial arts. The facts state that currently there are only 35 female drivers (who ply cabs for Priyadarshini Taxis and Viira Cabs) as compared to 18,000 male drivers.
City transport expert Sunil Mone, told Times of India, "There is a demand for more women drivers and women-exclusive cabs in the city. A lot of women passengers are wary of travelling alone, especially in the wake of the Delhi rape case. We welcome more cabs that are driven by women and for women."
Preeti Sharma Menon of Viira Cabs said that the women are trained for three months which is both gruelling and expensive, to ensure that the women are competent. "Most of the services that started with a handful of women, stopped as they had no funnel of drivers," she added. Co-founder of Viira Cabs, Revati Roy, has trained 200 drivers till date, she told Times of India, "I am in touch with various cab operators, aggregators and investors and want them to invest in women-driven cabs for Mumbai."
The TOI also said that a CEAT's women empowerment program called Swayam, is currently training 300 underprivileged women. These women are also being taught self-defence techniques so they can protect themselves in distressful situations.
ORIGINAL SOURCE: Times of Times