These 4 taxi services for women focus on safety and reliability
Women’s safety remains the topmost concern in India today. According to a 2019 survey by UK-headquartered online market research and data analytics firm YouGov, around a third of urban Indians (29 percent) feel safety for women should be the country’s focus in 2020.
According to a survey by technology platform Neta App, 42 percent of Indian women feel “unsafe” in their surroundings; 43 percent revealed that they have faced an incident where their safety was undermined.
To make women safe while travelling anywhere, whether for work or leisure, a slew of women-only cabs have become popular. Most of these taxis are also driven by women so that women passengers feel safe travelling, especially at night.
Here’s a presenting a list of those that caught our attention:
Shailja Mittal – Koala Kabs
Shailja Mittal used to send her daughter Krisha by a cab everyday. One day, another driver turned up in place of the regular one and she felt wary sending her daughter with a stranger. This became the pain point for her to start Koala Kabs that provides cab services, driven by a crew of women drivers, only for women and children. Shailja has 17 driving partners, five full-time employees, and 10 freelancers handling technology and marketing.
The cab services, available in the Delhi-NCR region, also offers carpooling packages and rentals, and Koala Xclusive, a tailor-made monthly package designed according to the customer’s requirements. Shailja plans to extend the service to other major cities as well.
Revathi Kulkarni Roy – ForShe
A passion for driving and the need for women to feel safe while travelling made Revathi Kulkarni Roy start cab service ForShe with a seed capital of Rs 8 lakh borrowed from family and friends. Revathi first set up an academy to impart driving lessons, training for mechanics, and classes in self-defence.
“To promote the service, we would have women drivers take the car around the city. Soon we began to hear that the cars were seen across Mumbai but without passengers. So my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, who were very supportive, began to dress up and sit in the cab and be driven around. Soon we got out first customer and then things picked up from there,” she told HerStory in an interview.
So far, ForShe has trained more than 1,000 women drivers and helped them become entrepreneurs as well.
Bhavana Pramod Bagalwadi and Vandana Suri – TaxShe
TaxShe co-founded by Bhavana Pramod and Vandana Suri has a singular mission: driving change. The cab services startup does not just focus on women’s safety; it also empowers women from marginalised sections of society by providing them training to drive taxis. Besides driving, they are also taught self-defence.
TaxShe was started in 2015 to provide transport services to children for school and coaching centres, and also to working women in Bengaluru and Delhi. According to its website, its women drivers are called Roos, taking inspiration from a Kangaroo mother who is caring and strong.
Shruti Kaushik – SheCab
This is the story of how an electric engineer left a comfortable job to start a women’s taxi service in Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand. Saheli Trust, an NGO started by Shruti, runs the SheCab service. For this, the NGO trains women to become drivers and also be financially empowered.
After acquiring a licence to run a fleet, it started off in 2018 with three drivers to ply to locations in Dehradun, Mussoorie, Rishikesh, and Haridwar. It soon plans to expand to other places and include more women as well.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)