• Do young women feel safe in cabs?

    In a constant struggle to remove the tag of being the most unsafe city for women in India, Delhi has been experimenting with its transportation infrastructure for many years now. The public transportation system of Delhi  never garnered a lot of support from its women.  The Delhi Metro, introduced in 2002, has come a cropper in ensuring the safety of its women passengers. Cases of groping, molestation and pick-pocketing are frequently reported.

    Delhi, in a bid to modernize and upgrade its infrastructure, initiated the cab service. Ola and Uber Cabs, running across the streets of Delhi, have become an indispensable part of the commuters’ lives. The pertinent question, however, remains the same. Are cabs safe for women?

    SheThePeople.TV interviewed some young women from Delhi to know their take on this issue.

    Shivani Nayyar, a computer science student of Delhi University, shares, “I rely on these cabs for most of my travelling within the city. I never found anything fishy.” When asked about the behaviour of men driving the cabs, she suggested, “It would be unfair to label all the drivers as bad and view all of them with suspicion because of the bad intent of a very few of them.”

    GPS A SECURITY RELIEF?

    “The best thing about these cabs is that the drivers let you be and you do not have to engage yourself in any forced conversations like you may in case of autos. The GPS installed in their cars is an effective way of checking whether the driver is sticking to the right route. Using these cab services, I can  travel around independently and not bother my father or brother to drop me at places,” opines Rashi Goel, a law student of Delhi.

    VOICES FROM REAL USERS

    Chaitanya Singh from Delhi University is all praise for this new system of commuting through cabs. She says,” It is important to have faith in something new. I take these cabs at odd hours also and I must say that these companies are doing a decent job. And why not? Aren’t they familiar with the fact that even a single complaint against any of their drivers can put their reputation at stake?”

    Abhidha Sharma, a photographer based in the national capital, has similar views, “I usually get late while returning from office. It is safer to travel by cabs. Infact, some of the drivers are so considerate that they are willing to ferry us even if they are done with their targets for the day. They make sure that only a person of the same gender gets in the cab if we go for the sharing option. What else do we need?”

    PUBLIC TRANSPORT OVER CABS

    While most of the young women seem satisfied with these cabs, there are some who still prefer public transport over these enclosed cars. Ayushi Chaudhery from Delhi University had a lot of valid points to share.”A change in mindset is the only way to ensure safety of women. And frankly speaking, this seems to be a distant dream. I admit that these cab drivers have their ID proofs registered with the company and any deviation from the moral code of conduct can oust them from the company. But how do we know what their perception of moral conduct is? Do they consider staring women passengers from rear view mirror as a sign of assault? I think women will feel safe only when they will have the option of taking women-driven cabs at all times of the day.”

    Ishita Chikkara is also apprehensive of taking the cabs while travelling alone. “I prefer cabs while travelling with a group but I shudder at the thought of travelling in them alone. Buses and Metro have a lot of people around and that gives a sense of security. You can shout for help if something goes wrong. But how will you save yourself in a cab?”

    Being a Delhiite, I feel that it is definitely a step in the right direction but still a lot of efforts need to be put in to drive away the fear that haunt women while travelling alone.