With not too many women applying for auto permits under the lottery system, the transport department has now relaxed the selection process. Out of 1,781 permits available for women auto drivers, only 465 have been allotted till date. The remaining permits would be issued on first-cum-first-serve basis.
According to transport officials, the educational qualifications and the process of granting licenses has been relaxed in order to encourage more women auto drivers to come forward. “A five percent reservation had been kept for women auto drivers under the lottery system but the response was not so good as they require a badge and commercial driving license for the permit to be issued,” said an official.
A total of 35,628 expired permits were allotted again through a lottery system. These autos are likely to start plying within six months after allotment, according to the transport department.
“Under the earlier rules, auto drivers were supposed to be Class X passouts. This requirement has been done away with. Moreover, one required a year’s experience of driving a non-transport vehicle before she could apply for a learning license to ply an auto. But now, if someone is 20 years of age and passes the physical fitness test, then she can apply for the learning license and would be given an auto transport license within a month,” said an official.
The transport department has also forwarded a colour scheme for these autos to the government. Colours like pink and orange were being considered for such autos. “Security of women drivers could also be one of the reasons for lesser number of applications,” said the official.
The transport department has been trying to float an exclusive taxi fleet driven by women taxi drivers for a while but even that scheme failed to find enough takers in the city.