Goa launches women taxis with drivers trained in self-defence, soft skills

Goa launches women taxis with drivers trained in self-defence, soft skills

NetIndian News Network

Panaji, October 17, 2014

Goa Tourism today launched a women taxi service for women passengers, driven by women drivers trained in self-defence.
The service was inaugurated by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in Miramar, making Goa one of the few states in the country to have such a facility.
State Transport Minister Sudin Dhavalikar, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar and Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) Chairman Nilesh Cabral were amongst those present on the occasion.
Goa Tourism decided to launch the service to cater to the needs of women tourists and residents in the state. In the past, the issue of taxi services had often threatened to stall the progress of tourism in Goa and the government initiated this move to slowly eliminate the problem, an official press release said.
“The initiative taken up by Goa Tourism is good, this will give a new career direction to women. Private companies should take note and hire women, thus creating jobs for women," Mr Parrikar said.
"Goa must also go for 100% metering in all taxis. Meter implementation will start from next year where the initial meters may be at a subsidized cost. Meters will help tourists and prevent embarrassment to Goans due to some unruly taxi drivers, even though many drivers in Goa are honest," he said.
The release said the taxis would be driven by women drivers who are trained in self defence, soft skills, first-aid and have knowledge of tourist spots, thus doubling up as tourist guides to their passengers when needed. 
The drivers are groomed in basic etiquette, personal hygiene and customer relations to ensure a positive experience. The cars will be equipped with GPS monitoring system which supports a panic alert button backed by the back office. A detailed study has also been done on route assessment and journey planning for popular routes, it said.
To begin with, ten new air-conditioned taxis will be available to ply to and from the airport, hotels, railway stations and bus terminals and will be stationed at GTDC residencies. The number of taxis will be increased based on demand. The taxi fares will be government approved, which will be at a nominal rate. 
Women can avail the service by contacting the call centre on 0832–2437 437, the release said.
Other salient features of the service include display of driver identity on the dashboard; electronic fare meters with digital receipt print-outs; fare payment option through card or cash; portable fire extinguishers & first aid kit; monitoring of cab movement at all times by the central control room; emergency panic button in the cab; and prominent display of emergency contact numbers.
"This project will also ensure respectable employment opportunities for local women who come from marginalized and resource poor communities and families," the release added.

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