Mumbai responded to alarming reports by allowing a women-only transportation service.
Auto rickshaws are common vehicles in India, and they have an open layout that functions similarly to a cab. After much consideration, the city of Mumbai agreed to incorporate a women-only transportation system that certainly stands out from the rest.
Though the city already has a women-only service, it’s extremely limited in drivers and vehicles so it only operates at airports and resorts. This makes it nearly impossible for the everyday woman to employ a driver to take them to and from work or to run errands.
The government started a 5 percent reservation system for woman drivers that used a lottery to hand out permits to applicants. Though some requirements for female drivers were relaxed, most of the rules were the same for both genders, such as being fluent in the local language of Marathi. Drivers must also have been living in Maharashtra for 15 years.
Earlier this year, 548 women from across the city were granted permits, and their rides are stylish and easy to distinguish for women. That’s because the auto rickshaws are either pink or light orange so that there’s no mistaking what kind of person operates it. This is in stark contrast to the standard yellow and black vehicles.
The pink auto service has also been launched in several other cities and used as a basis for how this service should be run. Those services started after reports of assault, harassment, and even gang rape surfaced with female passengers that had male drivers.
More permits are available for distribution and safety features have been added to make the rides safer, such as a panic button with a light and sound. Though it’s unfortunate that these features are necessary, whatever makes the drivers and passengers feel safer is certainly welcome.
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