Women drivers may vroom in pink e-taxis soon

Women drivers may vroom in pink e-taxis soon

Women drivers in pink battery-driven taxis may soon become a reality in Delhi and Bangalore as the Central government, in a recent meeting with city Transport Department officials, shared its plans to subsidise green vehicles and encourage women drivers in public transport.

The plan to hold pilot runs of pink e-taxis in Delhi and Bangalore was shared with officials of all the states by the Department of Heavy Industry in a meeting that focused on issues related to promoting battery-driven vehicles.

“The regulation of pink e-taxis during the pilot project will be handed over to the Transport Department,” said a Delhi government official, adding that the service’s fare chart and the issue of public transport badge to the trained women drivers would be the responsibility of our officials.

The Transport Department also be responsible for setting up and maintaining fast-charging station – like the ones in London – for these commercial vehicles, he said.

“Surveys conducted on e-taxis have indicated that their average operating cost comes to Rs 10 per km, but the owner-drivers might be given some subsidy by the Central government to reduce their burden,” he said.

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung too has favoured women drivers in public transport. “This is a global trend and we want to encourage women to take up this profession,” he told Deccan Herald.

The electric cars available in the country have the potential of running between 80 and 120 km per charge and the Central government is trying to use them more and more in public transport, said the Delhi official, who attended the meeting called by the Central government.

A small battery car in Delhi costs nearly Rs 6 lakh, despite several incentives and subsidies given by the government to promote the use of clean vehicles.

The Central government may also explore the possibility of arranging easy loan facility for women willing to take up the profession of pink e-taxi driver, said an official.

One of the suggestions from the Central government was to offer a subsidy of over Rs 10,000 a month to the owner-driver or help her with battery replacement every three years, said the official.

The Central government is looking at e-taxis not only for clean environment but also for giving a women-driven secure mode of transport to women commuters, he said.
The proposal to introduce pink e-taxis comes at a time when a similar attempt by the transport to encourage women-driven autorickshaws has not been a great success in the city.

Transport Department officials said social reasons and concerns related to safety of women drivers seem to be preventing women from taking up autorickshaw driving as a profession.

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