Pink Taxi in Kolkata: A New Initiative to Give Women Safety and Confidence
Travelling has become easier since cab apps have come to our lives. You just have to use the phone screen to book a cab; and, within 10 minutes, there’s a car waiting at the door. You can just relax, while the driver follows Google map and takes you to your destination, right? Well, not always.
It might sound like paranoia, especially to men, but every time a woman gets into a cab alone, she is anything but relaxed. She makes a call – often a fake one – to let the driver know that someone knows she is in that particular cab. She shares her cab details with someone easily reachable. All throughout the ride, she stares at the app to ensure that the cab is on the right route; the slightest detour can get her to put her finger on the SOS button in the app, and grab a weapon – a key or a pepper spray – inside her bag.
The new pink taxi in Kolkata might be the answer to the cab-related fears of every woman – as well as those who love her.
Kolkata is now the second city in India, after Bangalore, to have an army of pink cabs, driven by women, for the women of the city. Senior citizens will also be able to avail the cabs driven by women. This is a welcome initiative by West Bengal chief minister, Smt. Mamata Banerjee, and West Bengal transport department. The number of cases of women getting harassed, assaulted, raped, or mugged by cab drivers has grown as fast as the popularity of the apps offering cab services. Data available on Data.gov, by National Infomatics Centre based on a study conducted in India in 2016 suggests that the number of male aggressors far supersedes that of women perpetrators. So, it can be hoped that in the hands of female drivers, the female riders will be much safer. It will also help foreigners visiting the city; the number of crimes against foreigners in India is on the rise, too.
With the Pink Cabs hitting the streets of Kolkata, the women in this city will be saved in more than one way.
These cabs are not just about women feeling safe while travelling around the city, late at night, in remote streets. This will also give many women a new lease of life, as many women will now have a new means to earn their living and stand on their feet. In India, like in the rest of the world, women are still struggling to find stable sources of income, the key to being self-reliant. Because they don’t have the education or training to find a job, they stay in abusive marriages, fail to support their parents or even enjoy a lifestyle they want. Because, let’s face it – people often forget that every woman has a full-time job, and they don’t let go of a chance to insult a woman who is not salaried. The women driving the Pank Cabs are all trained drivers and mechanics.
We hope that the pink taxi fleet will cause a revolutionary change in the lives of women in Kolkata, letting them walk the streets in peace and confidence.