City Pink autos driven by women will ply only women commuters in the city
Commuting by auto can be a nightmare for anyone in the city; it’s worse if you are a woman commuter. Apart from the risk of harassment she faces on the road, a woman commuter is forced to endure the presence of some male friend accompanying the driver to being heckled over fares and more. With a few stories of crimes against women in the city being reported, the anxiety of women commuters is definitely on the rise.
That’s where Pink Auto steps in. The idea of pink autos isn’t an initiative to merely add colour to the existing fleet of autos. Pink Auto is an initiative of Vaada Foundation as part of its drive to ensure safety of women.
Suresh Raju, founder of Vaada elaborates: “A friend from the US who was staying for some time in Indiacommuted by autos and the horrific stories she narrated made me ashamed. Atithi Devo Bhava is a dictum of every Indian but are we really practising that? Forget visitors to our countryare our women really safe? The answer is in the newspapers for all to see.”
In an effort to contain harassment and ensure safety of women, Vaada Foundation is ready with their Pink Auto Campaign, providing a unique transport service that seeks to provide a safe commute to women of our city. “These special autos will be driven by women and will only ferry women,” says Suresh.
To ensure that Vaada isn’t making an assessment based on ‘assumptions’ they decided to carry out a detailed sample survey, its women volunteers found that on an average 7 out of 10 women are harassed when hailing an auto. “The harassment can be in any form; it could be about the fare, the looks a passenger gets or a remark passed while waiting,” says Suresh.
What about the safety of the women auto drivers? “Besides giving them training in techniques of self defence we will also design the auto such that the driver’s door can be locked from inside. They will also be equipped with a SOS service for emergency situations. The SOS service is to alert the emergency contact that can be either the police or one member of the family,” adds Suresh.
Vaada is all set to kick off the Pink fleet by December 15 in the Hitech city area. As of now Vaada has a few women drivers who are being trained and the group is looking forward to adding more women to their workforce.
Vaada Foundation and its stakeholders have earlier worked with projects that involve safe driving, road safety, pelican crossing etc.
PRABALIKA M. BORAH
Vaada’s vaada to drivers
l Requisite driver training
l Driving licence from RTA
l Life Insurance cover for the driver
l Self-defence technique training
l Polite verbal communication skills training
l Assistance in sourcing autos
l Departmental clearances and permissions