The ‘She Taxi’ project, aimed at ensuring safe travel for women, will be launched in Kochi by December.
The project is being launched by ‘Gender Park’, an autonomous institution promoted by the Department of Social Justice and the Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation (KSWDC) to resolve gender inequity in development. The project will be launched in Thiruvananthapuram by mid-November. The first phase will see the launch of 25 taxis in the capital.
It is learnt that, based on the success of the pilot phase, Maruti Suzuki India, the manufacturing partner of the project, will look into the possibilities of extending the project to other states as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The project will be extended to Kochi by December and later to Kozhikode. “We are getting tremendous response from Kochi. The authorities of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) and NASSCOM have expressed their willingness to associate with the project,” P T Mohammed Sunish, the ‘Gender Park’ special officer told ‘Express’. The manufacturing partner will train women drivers in road safety measures. The ‘She Taxis’ will be painted in pink and the service will be available 24X7. “We have submitted an application to the government for using the number ‘543’ as the toll-free number for availing the service,” he added.
He said that out of a total of 300 taxis, hundred taxis each would be made available in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode. The Gender Park’s main responsibility will be to channelise the funds available for ‘She Taxis’ to women entrepreneurs who are interested in managing the service. Loans for the project will be made available by the KSWDC at eight per cent interest rate for six years.
“Maruti will provide the vehicle at a discount. The vehicle model can be selected by the entrepreneurs. The support lend by the manufacturer for this project is tremendous. They have discussed with us on the possibilities of extending the project to other states as part of their CSR,” Sunish said. The primary aim of the ‘Gender Park’ is to encourage women to take up leadership roles in areas ranging from designing to implementation. In this context, projects like ‘She Taxis’ will cater to the needs of the floating population and working women in the city. It will help tackle challenges raised by anti-social elements to the safety of women in cities.