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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

Reduce Loneliness And Boost Your Mental Health With Cycling

The study stressed on the need for "an integrated approach to urban planning, transport planning and public health is needed.

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Cycling can reduce your loneliness, boost mental health
Cycling can reduce your loneliness, boost mental health. Flickr

Feeling lonely? Riding your bicycles may not only improve your general and mental health, but also increase social interaction, says a study.

The study showed that cycling is the healthiest mode of transport and is associated with better self-perceived general health, better mental health, greater vitality, lower self-perceived stress and fewer feelings of loneliness.

“The findings suggest that active transport –especially cycling– should be encouraged in order to improve health and increase social interaction,” said lead author Avila Palencia from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona, Spain.

walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health
walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health. Pixabay

The second most beneficial transport mode, walking, was associated with good self-perceived general health, greater vitality, and more contact with friends and/or family.

“Ours is the first study to associate the use of multiple urban transport modes with health effects such as mental health and social contact. It also allowed us to highlight the positive effect of walking, which in previous studies was not very conclusive,” she added.

The study, published in the journal Environment International, was carried out in seven European cities: Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Orebro, Rome, Vienna and Zurich and included more than 8,800 people.

The transport modes assessed in the study were car, motorbike, public transport, bicycle, electric bicycle and walking.

cycling is the healthiest mode of transport
Cycling is the healthiest mode of transport Pixabay

Driving and public-transport use were associated with poor self-perceived general health, while cars were linked with fewer feelings of loneliness.

“This result is most likely due to the fact that the study population drove very infrequently and most journeys by car were probably for social purposes, such as visiting a family member or a friend,” the researchers explained.

Also Read: Taking Care of Mental Health Problems in Children, may Boost Parent’s Mental Health Too

The study stressed on the need for “an integrated approach to urban planning, transport planning and public health is needed in order to develop policies that promote active transport, such as adding more segregated cycle lanes for a better environment for cyclists,” the researchers noted. (IANS)