Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government is all set to roll out "She Taxi", a 24X7 all-women taxi service, as part of its women empowerment programme and to ensure safe journey for the fairer sex.
"Safe, secure and responsible" travel for women is the main objective of the programme, being launched by the "Gender Park", an institution under the Department of Social Justice.
The pilot project will be launched with a fleet of five cars in the city on November 19 and the programme will be extended to Kochi and Kozhikode in the next phase.
The plan is to have 300 fleet of all-women cars in coming days, Gender Park CEO PTM Sunish said.
Considered to be the first such initiative in the country with the support of the government, the project is also envisaged as an effort to contribute to the socio-economic development of women, he said.
"This is an effort to address the ever growing threats onthe safety and security of women, while at the same time contributing to the socio-economic empowerment of women in the state," he said.
Loans will be arranged to identified beneficiaries to purchase cars under the programme, planned in an entrepreneurship mode.
"Unlike many other government programmes, we are not giving them the vehicles free of cost. Instead, we make them buy the vehicles and loans will be arranged for that through Kerala State Women Development Corporation. It makes them more confident and responsible," the official said.
The "She Taxi" drivers need not wait for their commuter sat any particular place. The commuters who want to hire a taxicab can contact the call centre and they will pass the message to the drivers, he said.
As per an estimate, a `she taxi` driver would be able to earn Rs 20,000 per month after paying their loan instalments, he said.
Referring to the safety of women drivers and passengers, he said there is no room for any apprehension on this as the entire programme and the movement of the car will be monitored by a control room, specially set up for this purpose.
"The cab will have safety features such as emergency switches for drivers and passengers to alert in case of emergency and facilities like safety map, GPRS, emergency alert mobile apps and so on," he said.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd provides vehicles for the project as part of their social responsibility programme, the official added.