'Confident of the road that lies ahead'

WOMEN's day

'Confident of the road that lies ahead'

Many women in the City depend on public transport and are afraid that there may be some danger lurking in the corner.

The rising number of incidents against women have only added to this fear. And in an effort to ease this tension and make women feel safer, Angel City Cabs, which started in August 2013, has got women staff on board. On the occasion of ‘International Women’s Day’, the bold ladies of the organisation who have taken to the wheel despite all odds, share their experiences with Metrolife.

V Bharathi, who was previously employed by an NGO as a driver, says that she has
always had a passion for driving. “Driving a cab is different from driving for just one
person. Since I didn’t know anyone when I took this profession, I was apprehensive about how I would be perceived in society,” she says.

Be it an early morning pick-up or a late night drop to the airport, Bharathi takes them in her stride. However, she says that women still have to be accepted in the male-dominated space. “Men look down upon us, which I think is very irritating,” rues Bharathi, adding, “We’re just a handful. We really need to be encouraged.”

Sultana, who has been driving since 2007 and has recently been brought on board, says, “Since my father was a driver, I learnt driving from him. I never even had to take classes. I just drive without worrying about what others will say or think. I don’t have much of a choice but to work, especially because many of my family members are dependent on me.”

For Vatsala, who is currently under training and has taken the driving test, even coming this far has been a challenge. “The initial task of convincing my family to even get trained was the toughest. But I really want to contribute to the family instead of sitting idle at home. At the end of the session, I feel confident about myself and my driving skills. Since it is a ladies’ cab, I don’t have anything to fear,” says the lady, who has a daughter studying in the seventh standard.

She adds, “My only worry is that my family shouldn’t change its mind and not let me go ahead.” Fouzia, another trainee, says that only when she gets on the road will she know the real issues. “But having come so far, I am confident of the road that lies ahead,” she says.

The three men — Surya Mukundraj, an advocate; Manjunath Adde, a writer and Vinay Chaitanya, a real estate entrepreneur — who started the service, haven’t had a smooth ride either.

“Although we have got a good response, getting confident drivers is a challenge. Even though we train them, at times we realise after the session that they are still not ready to hit the road. Some even drop out during training,” he says, adding,
“The work timings depend on the bookings and some realise after they enrol that they can’t do it. But we are trying to work even on their soft skills.”

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