If the government has it’s way, we may see a lot more women cab drivers on Indian roads. Officials in the Road Transport and Highway Ministry have told Economic Times that they have approached the two major players in the app based taxi market, Uber and Ola, to train about One lakh drivers every year, wherein a large majority of them are women. Further, the government also instructed the Companies to train drivers in small cities and towns by way of opening institutes so that the growing demand for these services can be met.
Given the increase in number of sexual assault cases, government is pushing these companies to train women drivers so that women passengers in small cities can feel comfortable and safe while travelling. No doubt this step will also be beneficial for Ola and Uber as women drivers are sure to inspire confidence for women travellers, especially when booking cabs at night. Safety remains a sensitive issue amongst many in the small towns who remain sceptical of male drivers.
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To reduce the time frame for the drivers to start working, the government is ready to reduce the time for obtaining a commercial driving licence from the current one year to three months. With people responding well to this market space, it is no wonder that from the current number of $1.2billion, the taxi-hailing market is estimated to grow up to $15billion in the next six years, as reported by thenextweb.com.
We asked some people what they thought of this initiative and they were happy to hear this news. Divya, a 24 year young professional says, “It’s a must! It not only provides employment opportunities for women, but also makes travelling safer for us. Also, driving is one of those fields where you rarely see women. I don’t understand why. I think this is an excellent move and the companies should definitely take it up. Not to mention, it helps them build a positive brand image!”
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Another professional Abhay Raha, from Mumbai says, “The concept of having women Uber or Ola drivers is progressive and I’m sure a lot of women would feel safer. Although I feel once better security measures and systems come into play then it could be implemented as even women drivers need to feel safe with their passengers. Hence, there should be more preventive measures towards the safety of the women drivers as well.” An excellent perspective! Instead of just looking out for women passengers, there should be initiatives that make women drivers also feel safe, especially late in the night!
This initiative definitely is progressive but needs more refining and I’m sure all the concerns will be worked out. Or at least, we hope so!
Feature Image Credit: dailymail.co.uk