Commuters want more female cab drivers, but firms in a fix

Mar 07, 2014, 07:21 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

Though demand for cabs driven by women is very high, there is a shortage of female drivers; not many opt for
the job due to family pressures and time constraints

Today women are restricted neither to the comfort of their homes nor to the safety of their offices. Their personal and professional lives require them to travel alone to places within and outside the city at different times.

In such situations, safety becomes a prime concern. Here is where cab services come into play and women feel much safer if there is a woman behind the wheel.

Director of Nari cabs, Hrishikesh Kolhapure said, “It is very difficult to get female drivers. We have to train them in driving as well as self-defence.

They have time constraints, as they too have a family. It is problematic to get drivers who are ready to work 24 hours; they currently work from 10 am to 6 pm.

So we have kept an on-call service system, where in only times of need, we call the female drivers after 6 pm. There is a demand for the same among commuters, as we get an average of 20- 25 calls per day, but there is a lack of drivers.”

Siddhartha Pahwa, Group CEO, Genie and Meru Cabs said, “Getting women drivers is a big problem as they have time restrictions. They are not ready to work late nights when they are most needed. We experimented by hiring women drivers but it was not successful.

Though the taxi’s we provide as commuter-friendly so if a lady feels unsafe she can press a emergency button provided in it and two people whose numbers are given for emergency will be informed if there is a problem. Also we teach our staff to be polite.”

Sapna Sarfare, a journalist who uses cabs regularly during nighttimes said, “It is pretty safe but more care can be taken by the companies. For example, a private taxi company in the city has ditched me often and no explanation was given. Once or twice, the messages never came or arrived later. They should consider the fact that if a woman has booked a cab late at night, she should be given priority.”

Making compromises
Sneha Kulkarni, a law college student, said, “Most of the time I use my two-wheeler in the city, but if I have to work late nights or go for a party with friends, I prefer calling for a cab. Most of the time the cab comes on time, but sometimes I also have experienced that the driver tries to adjust the mirror and look at you. I would feel much safer and better about myself if there was a female driver.”

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