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NDMC’s ‘Shakti’— an all-women cab service from next month

The service will have a fleet of 20 taxis and we are likely to take support from Maruti Suzuki.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 16, 2015 6:51:21 pm

Taking a step forward to ensure women’s security in the capital, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is planning to introduce a fleet of taxis with women drivers next month.

The cab service, to be called “Shakti”, will cater to areas under the NDMC’s jurisdiction. The council was planning to flag off the fleet on March 8, International Women’s Day, but it got delayed, a source said.

According to NDMC officials, the scheme is being launched to check the number of crimes against women on buses and in taxis.

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In December last year, a 25-year-old woman, returning from Gurgaon, was allegedly raped by the driver of the Uber cab she had hired.

“On one hand, we talk of making public transport more accessible and popular. But we need to make it safer for women. Whether it was the December 16 gangrape or the Uber rape case, providing safe transport lies at the heart of stopping such crimes,” a transport official said.

“The service will have a fleet of 20 taxis and we are likely to take support from Maruti Suzuki. But the modalities of the scheme are still being worked out,” a senior NDMC official said.

“We have approached the Transport department to launch the project. While around 100 taxis are needed for launching such a service, we do not have enough funds at present to ply so many cabs. So we have sought the Transport department’s permission to begin a pilot project with 20 vehicles,” the official said.

The NDMC official said the women drivers will be trained at an institute run by the NDMC. The council plans to introduce the service at tariffs which are in tune with those put out by the Transport department.

The civic body has also decided to recruit women drivers for all buses ferrying children. “Since children are easy targets for crimes such as molestation, we decided to ensure their security in this way. The women drivers with commercial licences have been already selected and they will also begin working from next month,” he said.

In a similar move, the Gurgaon district administration last month had mooted a project to run women-only cabs.

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