Advanced safety systems in taxis; 25 taxis to be launched in pilot phase
The State Social Welfare Department’s ‘She-taxi’ service will be rolled out in the city next month. Staffed solely by women, the 24-hour service offered by the government’s ‘Gender Park’ initiative seeks to offer a safe transport alternative for women on the move.
Twenty-five cars — white, streaked with pink — will be launched in Thiruvananthapuram by mid-November in the pilot phase. While guaranteeing safe transport is the priority, ‘Gender Park’ also seeks to promote women entrepreneurs capable of managing the service.
‘Gender Park’ officials are currently selecting beneficiaries who will be given a vehicle on loan at an 8 per cent interest rate over a repayment period of six years. The Kerala State Women Development Corporation (KSWDC) is in charge of extending financial support to women who want to become part of this fleet.
Lessons for drivers
The vehicle manufacturer chosen on the basis of the Expression of Interest invited by the government is Maruti. Aside from providing vehicles for the fleet at a discounted rate, the company will partner with ‘Gender Park’ for giving driving lessons and for coaching drivers on basic vehicle mechanics.
The vehicles will have GPS trackers and emergency switches for drivers and passengers to send a signal to the control rooms working 24x7. The system will be improved to include safety maps signalling emergency response centres.
Rain Concert Technologies based in Technopark here is in charge of the fleet management and safety services, said ‘Gender Park’ Special Officer P.T. Mohammed Sunish. Based on the success of the pilot project, the fleet would be expanded to 100 cars in one city and implemented in Kochi and Kozhikode, he added.
“We also plan to impart training in soft skills and self defence. It is not just IT parks that we liaised with so far, though the demand is the highest there. We have had discussions with the airport authority on setting a fixed fleet of 10 cars here catering to tourists,” said project officer Ijas Khan. Applications are still being considered. Those interested can contact the ‘Gender Park’ office at Kowdiar on 0471-2433334.