NEW DELHI: Maharashtra Government is all set to make travelling by taxi in its capital for women more safe, and more friendly. Waking up to grave concerns raised by women after the Uber rape case, Mumbai, is slated to roll out its first government owned taxi fleet operated by women, for women.

Initially, 200 permits will be issued under the phone fleet taxi system. State Transport authority (STA) is responsible for the issuance of the licenses.

In an interview given to Indian Express, a transport official informed that only one company responded to the tender for the taxi service, and once that’s passed, the proposal will be sent to STA for the permits. “Only one company came forward during the tender process. We decided to go ahead with the company and forwarded the proposal to the government for approval,” said the official.

“The STA meeting will take place next week. If the approval from the government comes through, we will table the proposal for issuance of licences,” he added further.

The scheme should be operational within a month if the requirements asked in the tender are met. There’s a major need for the competent safety measures for the women, so a greater emphasis is on the soundness of those measures employed in the taxis. The company responsible for the operation of the fleet will have to pay Rs. 50,001 for each permit.

“The all-women taxi fleet will help resolve any safety concerns that women might have while commuting at odd hours. To specify that this service is for women, a sign will be put up on these taxis,” said another official.

As the proposal is in its initial stage, the color scheme or the design is yet to be decided. But there are a few essentials which the officials are sure about, such as the GPS system. Most private taxis are GPS enabled, which help them track the route which the taxis are taking, a very helpful device, if not tampered with by the unscrupulous drivers.

There had to be made an amendment in the Maharashtra Motor Vehicles Act, 1989, in 2010, before the Phone-fleet Taxi Scheme (PFTS) was introduced. Earlier, there was no such provision for a taxi service exclusively for women.

Though there is already an example of government backed taxi system for women in operation, which was introduced in Kerala in 2013, called She Taxi; the private players sensed the apprehensions faced by women in using public transport at odd hours or using private taxis, and grabbed the opportunity by launching specialised taxi service for them.

Priyadarshini Taxi and Viira cabs are two such examples in Mumbai, and Meru Cab’s new service ‘Meru Eve’, along with ForShe taxi, are the taxi services in delhi and Gurgaon area, which promise the safest ride to women at all hours.