All-women cab companies on the rise across India amid sexual violence fears

All-women cab firms in cities like New Delhi and Mumbai have seen a marked increase in the demand for all-women cab drivers

The popularity of all-women taxi services is on the rise in India, following incidents of sexual violence on its public transport and the arrest of a driver belonging to the Taxi App Company Uber over a rape allegation.

Cab firms in areas such as the country’s capital New Delhi and the southern state of Kerala have seen the number of people using all-women taxi services rise over recent times amid growing fears of sexual violence against women.

Reports by owners of these firms have said that the number of women using their services and women wanting to drive for them has noticeably increased and this has had a knock-on effect, leading to other cab firms planning to follow suit.

According to reports, the move toward providing all-women taxi firms began in 2012, following the gang rape and subsequent death of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi.

The incident was followed last year, by the arrest of 26-year-old Uber driver Shiv Yadav, accused of raping a passenger. Since his arrest six other women have alleged that he also sexually assaulted them.

Yadav, who denies the accusations, faces trial at a fast-track court in the city.

The gang rape incident in 2012 and the accusations against Yadav, has led to a greater demand for all women cab companies.

Cabs for Women by Women began as a small operation in New Delhi in 2008 but is now on the up and has just began a major recruitment campaign to employ more female drivers.

Other cab companies that have benefitted from the demand are Sakha Cabs that now runs 14 all-women taxis in the capital and Priyadarshini Taxi in Mumbai, which has been functional since 2010.

Both have plans to extend their services to other cities around the country.

These companies are following on from the work of Kerala based all-women cab firm She Taxis whose all pink fleet of cars has transported 24,000 people on 10,000 trips since beginning in November 2013.

And workers at these companies say the presence of companies like these is empowering women passengers and drivers.

Aswathy Sreekumar, 25, a technology worker who has used She Taxis for the last seven months has said that the service has had a massive impact on her life.

She told Reuters: "I feel secure and the family is satisfied, otherwise, I keep getting calls from my parents."

And this is a feeling shared by those who run these services.

Susieben Shah who founded Mumbai’s Priyadarshini Taxi Service said: "You are safer when a taxi is driven by a woman. People would be keener now."