On road, safety first
Published: 16th June 2013 12:00 AM |
Your movements are being tracked. Sounds ominous? But then it’s all for a good cause. Taxi and car rental services today are actively promoting journey trackers to make women clients feel safe.
Ask Gaurav Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Savaari Car Rentals, whose comment that women in Delhi today could hail a cab without worry even in the middle of the night invoked disbelief. Had he not heard about women being attacked and assaulted daily? However, it is because he had been following every bulletin vigilantly that the idea of a tracking system struck him. “The number of customers increased by about 20 per cent after the mobile tracking application came into effect. Women definitely feel safer travelling in vehicles when they can be easily traced,” says Aggarwal.
It helps that Savaari’s chauffeurs are courteous and bilingual, well versed with city routes. In addition, if the client faces the slightest difficulty, all they have to do is call the 24x7 customer support centre in Dehradun. If the passenger’s family wishes to know where they are, the call centre provides details about the cab’s movement. “All our drivers are police verified. We can proudly say our cabs are very safe for women,” says Aggarwal.
Delhi’s trusted Meru Cabs also launched a similar service to make women feel comfortable with its SMS-based Trip Tracker Service. Also launched in Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, it has gone the extra mile in helping women feel secure. How it works is simple. A registered person or family member of the lady traveller will be sent SMS alerts about the cab location and journey every 15 minutes till the end of the trip. “Just being a market leader is not enough. We want to continue to strive to do our best by introducing innovative facilities and travel concepts, keeping the customer’s needs at the core of everything we do. The reality of Delhi remains unchanged. Women don’t feel safe but with this tracking system, they feel at ease,” says Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.
But the biggest leap was taken by Sakha Consulting Wings Pvt Ltd a few years back by providing a safe transport solution for women, by women. Since 2008, it offers chauffeur services for short durations or daily packages. “At the time we launched, there was a census published, highlighting Delhi as a red state with a skewed gender ratio—1,000 men to 844 women. This was an area of concern and the team realised that the reason or part of the reason for this is the perception that women are a burden as they are not able to become significant breadwinners. The women drivers engaged by Sakha are handpicked from poor and marginalised sections of society, and are then trained by Azad Foundation. The foundation’s focus is to provide a livelihood that can level the playing field and enable women to work and earn on par with men. Hence driving. The women employed by Sakha take care of another huge concern that is women’s safety particularly in the public space and hence both the organisations came together seamlessly to provide the women on wheels enterprise with the overall aim to empower women,” says Nayantara Janardhan, the CEO of Sakha. She believes that it is high time that the women of this country feel strong, safe and secure.