Women-driven e-rickshaws for last-mile connectivity from Yelachenahalli and Indiranagar metro stations  

As a step to encourage and include women in the urban mobility landscape, MetroRide has trained around 25 women drivers to ride electric rickshaws. The rides can be booked through the MetroRide app. 

February 29, 2024 12:33 am | Updated 12:33 am IST - Bengaluru

Bengaluru is one of the world’s most congested cities and has the highest number of private cars in India. While the metro service has rapidly expanded over the years, a recent WRI India survey revealed that 70% of commuters were deterred by poor last-mile connectivity to metro stations in the city. Amidst these commuting hassles, Alstom, a multination manufacturer in smart and sustainable mobility, has introduced Low Emission Access to Public Transport (LEAP), a programme under its CSR initiative, supported by World Resources Institute (WRI) India, that aims to boost last-mile connectivity, encouraging greater public transport usage.  

The programme was inaugurated on Wednesday by Olivier Loison, Managing Director, Alstom India, Srinivas Alavilli, Fellow, WRI India, Rajeev Gowda, Vice-Chairman, State Institute for the Transformation of Karnataka, and Kalpana Kataria, Executive Director (Connectivity and Asset Management), Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL).

As part of the pilot phase, MetroRide, a start-up mentored under the Alstom’s sustainability incubation programme, will have electric autorickshaws deployed as last-mile service from Yelachenahalli and Indiranagar Namma Metro stations. As a step to encourage and include women in the urban mobility landscape, MetroRide has trained around 25 women drivers to drive the electric rickshaws in the said region. The rides can be booked through the MetroRide app. 

Among these women were those working as house helps and tailors, among other professions, who are now licensed autorickshaw drivers. Speaking to The Hindu, Ashwini Satish, a last-mile connectivity driver at Indiranagar, said it was hard to be a woman driver in the initial days but now she enjoys the job. “I worked as a house help for many years, but with the help of an NGO, I secured a driving licence and I have been an auto driver for more than three years now. When I joined, there were just two women in our team, and now we have so many. Initially, I was scared to drive, and I used to be bullied by male auto drivers, but with the help of my bosses and their motivation, I love driving so much now“.

Bhuvaneshwari, a former tailor, and a last-mile connectivity driver in Konanakunte, said, “I always dreamt of driving, and now it has become a dream come true. Lats year, I approached a female auto driver at the Konanakunte metro station and expressed my passion for driving. She referred me to MetroRide and for the last six months, I have been working for them. We only drive at a 5-km radius from the last-mile stations, and our autos have a tracking system too, so the job is safe for women drivers”.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, Mr. Loison, said, “Through our partnership with WRI India and leveraging the innovations brought to the table by an Alstom-mentored startup, MetroRide, we have taken a noteworthy step in bridging the last mile connectivity challenge with this programme. Together, we’ll leverage innovation and expertise to implement solutions that elevate the metro experience, making it more accessible, efficient, and environmentally friendly”.*

Mr. Alavilli said, “Addressing the critical last-mile connectivity gap prevalent in India’s metro networks, our joint efforts aim to provide commuters with a safe, low-cost, and low-emission mode of transport within the city. LEAP is dedicated to fostering sustainable livelihoods, particularly for our women driver partners. This initiative not only bridges gaps in urban mobility but also propels a socio-economic shift, underscoring our commitment to creating positive and lasting impact in the communities we serve.”

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