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Pink Autos: Lessons Mumbai auto unions can take from female drivers in Ranchi

The unions want the vehicles driven by women drivers to be painted black-and-yellow similar to those driven by men

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Pink auto driver. Image Source: Scroll.in
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  • Even six months after issuing permits, the ‘salmon orange’ autos are nowhere to be seen
  • The auto unions site safety of the women drivers as their top most concern
  • Ranchi is the first city to launch ‘pink autos’ exclusively run by the women drivers in 2013

With Mumbai all set to join the club of Indian cities having female auto drivers, the state auto unions have recently put up their curious opposition over the ‘salmon orange’ colour of those.

In January, the Maharashtra’s transport department had issued auto driving permits to 548 women drivers, of whom 465 were from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. However, even after six months, the ‘salmon orange’ autos are nowhere to be seen, said the Scroll.in report.

Though the state expected to launch the service by February, hoping that there would be a surge in women seeking a driving permit, yet the concern with the auto unions remains unresolved.

Salmon orange, called ‘aboli’ in Marathi is not an obvious colour associated with women, as is bright Pink colour in Ranchi or Rohtak, but the choice of colour is not the bone of contention.

Instead, the unions want the vehicles driven by women drivers to be painted black-and-yellow similar to the ones driven by men.

According to a Sroll.in report, Hemangini Patil, the deputy road transport officer of Thane, saying, “Unions say that women drivers would be unsafe if their autos are painted a separate colour because then they will stand out.”

In Thane district, only 76 women have applied for and received permits, out of the total 156 auto driving permits that have been offered over the past few months.

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While the auto unions site safety of the women drivers as their top most concern, however security doesn’t seem to be a priority.

Prakash Penkar, the Konkan region president of the Thani Zilla Rikshaw-Taxi Mahasangh, said, “According to the rule, if a woman is given a permit for driving an auto, then that vehicle can only be driven by her or another licensed woman – never a man.”

He added, “But lady drivers are not easy to find, so if women drivers fall sick or take maternity leave, the coloured autos will just be lying idle.”

In Maharashtra, where the state government issues auto and taxi drivers’ permits for only few hundred rupees, it is a mandate that the permit-holder must drive his vehicle for at least one shift per day.

Allegedly, for the remaining shifts, most drivers rent out their permit to others, often at rates as high as Rs 1.5 lakh annually.

Women passengers in pink auto. Image Source: Tribuneindia.com
Women passengers in pink auto. Image Source: Tribuneindia.com
Patil further said, “It is possible that auto unions and drivers want to be able to rent out the permits freely to men instead of waiting for another woman driver to show up.”

However, Maharashtra can certainly learn some lessons from Ranchi’s female drivers. In 2013, Ranchi became the first city to launch ‘pink autos’ exclusively run by the women drivers, after which the initiative became a success story and was also adopted by other cities.

Now plying for almost three years regularly, the women drivers in Ranchi allege that they have never faced the issues as have been raised by the auto unions in Mumbai.

Shanti Lakra, a female auto-driver in Ranchi, claims, “We love the fact that our autos are pink,” adding she loves the distinct colour of her auto as it helps in establishing her identity that convinces the passengers with a safe ride.

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Lakra admits that she has faced a little harassment but iterates she has never for a single moment thought of to the fact that men are not permitted to drive pink autos.

Hinting towards a solution of coloured autos lying idle, Devi Diras, 32, one of the first female auto-drivers, said, “If any of us is on leave for a while or can’t drive because of pregnancy, we simply find another woman to drive our autos for a while.”

She further said, “Women drivers are few in number, but why should that be a problem?”

Currently, ‘pink autos’ are plying on the streets of Bhubaneshwar, Ghaziabad, Rohtak, and some other cities, with varying degrees of success.

-This article is modified by Bulbul, a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Karishma Vanjani

    “Women drivers are few in number, but why should that be a problem?” Would love to see more women with such bold minds. Our country needs them.

  • Aparna Gupta

    Pink Auto is really a great initiative for the women. It will be a great pleasure to see the women working in this field.

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  • Karishma Vanjani

    “Women drivers are few in number, but why should that be a problem?” Would love to see more women with such bold minds. Our country needs them.

  • Aparna Gupta

    Pink Auto is really a great initiative for the women. It will be a great pleasure to see the women working in this field.

Next Story

IoT And Predictive Analysis’ Impact On Indian Transport Industry

The future of transportation in India, if it continues along the technologically-enlightened path that it has embarked upon, could be smoother and less chaotic in the near future.

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The 33 Red Buses of Glacier National Park, nicknamed “The Rubies of the Rockies,” on average, transport 60,000 tourist each summer.
The 33 Red Buses of Glacier National Park, nicknamed “The Rubies of the Rockies,” on average, transport 60,000 tourist each summer.

A report in the Wall Street Journal predicts that India’s combined workforce will increase by 12 million each month, making it the youngest working population in the world by 2022.

Sixty-five per cent of India’s population already falls in the working-age bracket, which means that a considerably large group of commuters from across the country travel long distances using personal vehicles and public transport. In doing so, they often battle with ill-maintained roads and insurmountably heavy traffic. A more specific viewpoint, focusing on commuters using company-sponsored cab services, reveals that these professionals spend hours traveling to and from work, with ill-planned routes and delayed pick-ups hampering their health and workplace productivity.

Therefore, several path-breaking companies are leveraging the potential of modern-day technologies to bridge the existing gaps in India’s transport sector.

Transport
Indian Railways is one of the most important and controversial transport in India. Wikimedia Commons

This is where the role of Internet of Things (IoT) and predictive analytics in ride-sharing comes in. The objective of every ride-sharing start-up is to find a solution to optimize travel. They use IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify demand and supply patterns for transportation within the city, based on historical data. The final objective of commute-focused start-ups is to understand how the traffic from commercial hubs interacts with the rest of the city and identify a way to alleviate the hassle of ride-sharing within that context.

The Indian transportation industry can leverage predictive analysis and data mining to draw insights and patterns from the vast pool of big data pertaining to transport and traffic conditions in particular areas. Using these patterns, systems powered by AI can plot the fastest routes for commuters, factoring in multiple pick-ups and drops on the way. Such systems rely upon AI to create routes for corporate commutes and club the employees who plan to commute at similar times, thus ensuring that they take the shortest route possible.

Predictive analysis tools can also alert drivers and passengers about impending bottlenecks and congestion. Such systems will reduce travel time for employees, while helping corporates save the large sums of money they spend on organising company-sponsored commutes.

Transport
The objective of every ride-sharing start-up is to find a solution to optimize travel. They use IoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify demand and supply patterns for transportation within the city.

Technological intervention can also bring about safety and security as far as public transport and employee commute services are concerned.

Corporates with 24-hour rotational shifts are obliged to provide cab services to their employees to ensure their safety. Connected services such as transport automation systems, driven by AI and IoT, can ensure that employees travel safely by collecting and storing relevant data about drivers, including their background verification information and prior criminal records. Additionally, through robust mobile applications, passengers can provide feedback pertaining to their experience with their drivers at the end of each trip. Advanced systems that use mobile phone sensors can also identify instances of rash driving.

Beyond the workforce commute, predictive analysis can be applied to a holistic urban mobility scenario. It can improve public transport by forecasting weather conditions, determining arrival times of buses, and predicting the number of drivers travelling each day.

Transport
Hand pulled ricksaw and tram in Kolkata. wikimedia

Further, advanced analytics will be able to provide data regarding the impact of road maintenance, signal failures, accidents, and vehicle breakdowns on the overall traffic conditions, in addition to circumnavigating mobility bottlenecks by mapping the shortest routes in real-time. This will help people in reaching their destinations as quickly as possible.

Also Read: Indian Catholic Nuns Call Out For Justice in Kerala

The future of transportation in India, if it continues along the technologically-enlightened path that it has embarked upon, could be smoother and less chaotic in the near future. On the back of rapid technological advancement, the transport sector has the potential to transform itself into a well-oiled machine. Commuters and travelers are advised to just sit back, fasten their seat belts, and enjoy the ride. (IANS)