Friday, October 17, 2014

Goa gets its very own women taxis, braced with self-defense trained angels on wheels!

Goa Tourism today launched the Women Taxi service at the august hands of Honorable Chief Minister, Shri. Manohar Parrikar in Miramar; thus making Goa one of the few States in the country to have taxis driven by women, for women passengers. Shri. Ramakrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar, Hon'ble Minister of Transport, Government of Goa; Shri. Dilip Parulekar, Hon'ble Minister of Tourism, Government of Goa; Shri. Nilesh Cabral, MLA & Chairman - GTDC Ltd.; Shri. R. K. Srivastava, IAS, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Government of Goa; Shri. Parimal Rai, IAS, Principal Secretary (Transport & PWD), Government of Goa; Shri. T. N. Mohan, IPS, Director General of Police, Goa State; Shri. Ameya Abhyankar, IAS, Director of Tourism, Government of Goa; Shri. Arun Desai, Director of Transport, Government of Goa; Shri, Nikhil Desai, Managing Director, GTDC Ltd also graced the occasion.

Goa Tourism decided to take this step forward to cater to 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 it.

Honorable Chief Minister, Shri. Manohar Parrikar said at the launch, “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. 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”.

These taxis will be driven by lady drivers who are trained in self defense, 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.

To begin with the project, 10 brand 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. One can avail the service by contacting the call centre on 0832 – 2437 437. Other salient features include:
  • First electronic fare meters with digital receipt print-outs in the State
  • Fare payment option through Card / 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
  • 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.

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