A fortnight after the Delhi rape incident, in which a driver of Uber, a taxi aggregator, had raped a 27-year old woman passenger, the Maharashtra's transport department still doesn’t have any concrete plan or policy to secure the safety of women in app-based cab services or fleet cabs.
Maharashtra govt has given all private cab service providers time till December 31, to submit their plans to ensure safety of women commuters.
Transport commissioner Mahesh Zagade, at a meeting held with private taxi operators on Wednesday, directed all the fleet taxi and web-based taxi operators to ensure that no driver takes the wheel without sporting a badge. If any driver is found without a badge, the operator will face action.
A taxi operator present for the meeting said that Zagade has asked fleet taxi operators to install the ‘panic’ or ‘SOS’ button inside taxis, besides asking them to follow stringent guidelines for verification of drivers.
According to sources in the department, a total of 10 taxi operators, including Uber, were present for the meeting.
“It was a routine meeting,” said Zagade, refusing to divulge any details. Transport secretary SK Sharma also refused to talk about the meeting.
Sushiben Shah, founder of the Priyadarshini Taxi service and chairperson of the state women’s commission, said, “They suggested various steps pertaining to women’s safety, including installation of GPS and panic buttons.”
Passengers expressed unhappiness at having been kept out the meeting. “Passengers or their representatives must be consulted instead of decisions being taken in air-conditioned offices,” said AV Shenoy, Mumbai Transport Forum member. He added that instead of asking companies to submit their plans, the government should finalise the criteria for safety and ask companies to implement them.
Besides asking private taxi operators to share details about drivers and vehicles in the past week, the state government has asked them to submit plans about the safety measures they intend to implement, before December 31.