Fleet of taxis with women-only drivers to hit Delhi roads next month

NEW DELHI - New Delhi Municipal Council, the city planning body of India's capital, will introduce a fleet of taxis with women drivers next month, in a bid to check the number of crimes against women on buses and in taxis.

The cab service called 'Shakti' - which means Power in Hindi - will cater to areas within the NDMC jurisdiction. The project was initially aiming to flag off on March 8 on International Women's Day but got delayed, the Indian Express newspaper said quoting sources.

The initiative comes amid a growing number of rape cases reported against women in the capital region after the horrific gang-rape of a physiology student on board a bus in Delhi in December 2012. Two years later, a 25-year-old woman, returning home from work, was allegedly raped by the driver of the Uber cab she had hired.

The Shakti project had aimed at launching 100 taxis but it was limited to 20 for lack of funds.

"The service will have a fleet of 20 taxis.. but the modalities of the scheme are still being worked out," a senior NDMC official said.

The official said the women drivers will be trained at an institute run by the NDMC. The council plans to introduce the service at tariffs which are in tune with those put out by the Transport department.

The civic body has also decided to recruit women drivers for all buses ferrying children. "Since children are easy targets for crimes such as molestation, we decided to ensure their security in this way. The women drivers with commercial licences have been already selected and they will also begin working from next month," the official said.