KOCHI: Here is good news for senior citizens. They can bid goodbye to their travel woes. For the first time in the state, a cab service for the elderly with drivers trained to deal with them with care and cater to all possible contingencies at the wheel will be launched. The vehicles will have the label of ‘senior taxi’ if the drivers choose to use it.
The brainchild of ‘Age Friendly initiative of Magics NGO, the senior taxis will be rolled out first in Kochi. The NGO, along with Kochi Corporation and Indian Medical Association - Care of Elderly, has been aiming at making Kochi a friendly city for the aged.
“The drivers are selected by ward members,” Boniface Jasper, secretary of Magics NGO, told Express. “There will be police verification before they are given training. They will be trained to deal with care and also in immediate first aid in the face of health issues. There is already an age-friendly bus running in Paravur and the staff deals with elderly people politely and respectfully.” In the primary stage, at least two drivers will be selected from each ward, thus taking the total number to 150.
The city is divided into 16 different sections and a directory with the phone numbers of the drivers will be prepared and issued through Vayomitram. After launching the programme on World Elder Abuse day, the training will begin on June 18.
A pilot model was launched a couple of years ago in Paravur and the vehicles which were made aged-friendly still run in the region.“We are leaving no stones unturned in ensuring senior citizens have an easier and more comfortable life. We expect more drivers to come on board with the idea. An app for the project is not practical. However, once the network widens and we have more trained drivers we will explore all the possibilities,” said Dr Praveen G Pai, convener, IMA committee for the elderly, Kerala.
This service will surely benefit people like Devaki, a retired teacher in Kochi, She took up various activities post retirement. However, the age factor made it difficult for her to travel. “My movements have slowed down and I have blood pressure and diabetes. When my husband and I travel long distance unaccompanied by our children, it is very difficult. The drivers usually don’t like assisting elderly people. We can’t always depend on our children to take us everywhere,” she said.
Kochi to get first ride
Brainchild of ‘Age Friendly’ initiative of Magics NGO, senior taxis will be first rolled out in Kochi
In the primary stage, at least two drivers will be selected from each ward, thus taking the total number to 150
A pilot model was launched a couple of years ago in Paravur