With the first impression generally being the last, taxi and auto-rickshaw drivers at Indira Gandhi International Airport here, who would be among the first to interact with foreign visitors coming for the Commonwealth Games, are being imparted training in the English language, etiquettes and first aid so that they serve as brand ambassadors for the country.
Training is being imparted to these drivers at the Haryana Institute of Public Administration in Gurgaon to enable them to interact better and converse in English with sportspersons and other officials and visitors coming from abroad.
Stating that these drivers would be playing a crucial role in image building, Institute director Rajni Shekhari Sibal said if their behaviour is good towards the visitors then most of them would return home with a good image of the country in mind.
As part of their training in English, the drivers are being taught to welcome the visitors and passengers with a “good morning’’, “good afternoon’’ or “good evening’’. Then they are being taught small sentences like “my name is …. ’, “I am your driver ‘’, or “please come’’.
The drivers would henceforth also be asking questions such as “do you have a hotel booking’’, “where would you like to go’’, “which hotel’’, “do you have change’’ and “are you comfortable’’. They would also try to make their passengers comfortable by saying small phrases like “no problems’’.
Apart from learning English, the drivers are also being taught stress management, delivering first aid and doing yoga while sitting in the vehicle. In first-aid administration, they are being trained in handling passengers in the case of heart attack, arson and road accident.
Ms. Sibal informed that in the training programme being carried out by HIPA, the drivers performing the best would be given four stars for affixing on their uniform. Similarly others would be given three and two stars depending on their performance.
Before the Commonwealth Games, the Institute is aiming to train about 3,500 taxi and about 8,000 auto-rickshaw drivers.
The training programme is being conducted by the Institute in association with the Indian Institute of Public Administration, Institute of Hotel Management, Delhi and India Tourism Development Corporation.
The drivers are also being imparted training on the different routes of the National Capital Region and are being taught the basic history of the country so that they may also be able to give the right information to the tourists.
Under the programme, the names, contact numbers, and vehicle numbers of all the trained drivers would be put on the website of the Tourism Ministry, Delhi Police and the Institute.
Ms. Sibal said from February the Institute would also be conducting a similar training programme for the drivers and conductors of the Delhi Transport Corporation.