Following a series of reports of sexual abuse of women, harassment, rude behaviour by male auto drivers, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Transport Authority (MMRTA) has sanctioned ladies special autos to Thane Transport Department. Initially 50 auto rickshaws driven by women to ferry women commuters will be launched. These rickshaws will be colour coded for easy identification on the road while a distinctive colour was proposed.
Thane Transport Department has approached various NGOs in the area for recruitment of women drivers for these rickshaws. The department has also appealed to all women who possess a valid driving license and eager to drive these auto rickshaws to contact them personally. All women drivers will be given badges and licenses to ply these rickshaws while the process of procuring these badges has been speeded up.
There have been several reports of harassment to women commuters by male auto rickshaw drivers in the area. Besides the exclusive women only auto rickshaws, Thane Police along with traffic police and RTO have intensified their exercise to check antecedents of all drivers in the region. Rickshaw unions are being contacted to check backgrounds of all auto rickshaw drivers and identify those who operate the rickshaws without proper permits or without regularization of paperwork.
Manufacturers too have started manufacturing customized vehicles, specially for women drivers and passengers. Newly launched Tata Magi Iris Veerangana Express in Gwalior is one such example.