India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ

One of India’s largest taxi companies says it has a solution for women worried about their safety after the alleged rape by an Uber driver: pink cabs with pepper spray.

Meru Cab chief executive Siddhartha Pahwa announced the new service–called Meru Eve– Friday from a dais decorated with daisies and gladioli.

“The incident last month forced all of us to think how we can make roads safer for women,” he said.

Its new line of taxis in Delhi will be driven by women . They will have pepper spray and panic buttons that immediately notify Meru if there is trouble.

There have been taxi services for women for years-such as ForShe Taxis and Sakha Cabs–but Meru Eve promises to take the concept to the next level. The service started in the capital region Friday with around 20 vehicles and may be rolled out in other cities later.

Meru worked with the Delhi police to equip the cabs and give the women drivers self-defense training to protect themselves and their passengers.

Meru’s Mr. Pahwa said that after the alleged rape of a female passenger by an Uber driver, Meru received calls from anxious passengers asking for female taxi drivers.

“This is an important step towards women’s empowerment,” said Tajender Singh Luthra, a joint commissioner of police in Delhi.

Meru’s regular drivers have always been given specific training on the appropriate ways to interact with women passengers. It says it has never had a complaint but decided to go further to make women passengers feel more safe.

“These drivers come from small towns and are not used to big city culture, like women smoking, wearing a short dress or travelling alone at night,” Mr. Pahwa said. “We train our drivers to avoid eye contact with women, maintain two feet of distance and not to adjust the rear view mirror to watch the passenger.”

The Meru Eve drivers will wear pink vests and drive white-and-pink hatchbacks.

One of the new drivers, 22-year-old Sarita Dixit, said that she expects her income to jump with demand for women drivers as more companies start women taxi services. Meru drivers typically earn between 20,000 and 30,000 rupees ($322 to $483) a month, which is more than she earned in her last job working as a chauffeur.

The new services will not only help empower women that can afford taxis but also woman looking for work, said Vimla Mehra, Delhi’s special police commissioner for administration.

“You don’t see many women professionals in India. Programs like this build confidence in women to earn a living. They become role models,” she said.

via India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ.

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One Comment to “India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons – India Real Time – WSJ”

  1. India’s New Pink Taxi Fleet for Women Offers Pepper Spray, Panic Buttons—is informative and interesting news.

    I feel it will catch on not only in Delhi, but other cities too.

    It will also be a useful information to tourists–visiting India, as these taxis are linked with the Police!

    I would like to hear others view on this subject.

    Like

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