In a bid to bring more women into the public transport network, the Delhi government, in conjunction with app-based aggregators, plans to offer free driving lessons to around 1,000 women who want to become taxi drivers. professionals, officials said, adding that this would ensure the safety of women traveling or working at night.
Announcing the initiative, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said: “The main objective is to increase employment opportunities for women in public transport and make it an important part of the fleet. We have now inducted women as bus drivers into the DTC. With this initiative, the day is not far off when a large number of women will be visible as drivers of various modes of public transport.
According to officials, the training will take place at in-house conduct centers set up by the government in Burari, Loni and Sarai Kale Khan. “The government will work with fleet owners and aggregators to put in place an optimal mechanism so that women trained under the initiative will receive guaranteed jobs in these companies after the training,” officials said.
While 50% of the training costs (approximately Rs 4,800 for each woman) will be borne by the transport department, 50% will be provided by selected aggregators. The officials also added that some aggregators have already approached the government and expressed interest. “We plan to hire at least 1,000 female drivers,” an official said.
Advertisements/public notices seeking expressions of interest from interested owners/aggregators will soon be issued to decide on the number of women who can be trained under the initiative, officials said. Several women through different forums have expressed interest in working as taxi drivers for a living, officials said, adding that once female drivers are trained and employed in large numbers, passengers can also have the ability to choose whether they want a female or male driver when booking a taxi.
The Delhi government has implemented several initiatives to encourage women’s participation in the public transport network, such as its push for electric vehicles in the fleet of taxi aggregators under the Delhi Motor Vehicle Aggregator Scheme and the reservation of 33% of the 4,261 new electric car registrations for women.
“Electric vehicles are easier to drive because they have automatic steering and fewer mechanical parts. This will improve job opportunities for women,” an official said.