While female literacy rate is increasing and more women are entering the workforce, daily commute is still an ordeal that hinders many women. Due to the unavailability of safe travel options for long distances, not to mention odd working hours, women usually settle for low-paid jobs that are available closer to their homes. Even for women who use public transportation, the roadblock lies in commuting from the bus, rail,or metro station to their home.
Earlier, women could access cheaper modes of transport such as buses, local trains, or shared autos only at the cost of being harassed, but thanks to the advent of technology, this scenario is gradually changing now and there are various affordable options available for safe commute. So, let's delve into an in-depth discussion and find out some of the more secure and cheaper daily commute services for Indian women.
If you are someone who keeps in touch with people living in your community, then carpooling is one of the safest and cheapest modes of travel, as it involves a group of people who live in the same society travelling to the same general destination. Carpooling helps in saving a considerable amount of money on travel cost. You also get to connect with people more and widen your circle.
Usually, in every society, people who work nearby decide to form a network and carpool regularly. So, if you are new to a community, posting queries on WhatsApp or other such social media groups of your society would be a great way of getting to know if there are people who could accompany you.
If you are unable to have such a facility in the community, then you can quickly sign up with a carpooling app such as SRide or Zify. SRide gives vehicle owners and riders the liberty to choose with whom they want to travel. For example - If you are not comfortable with carpooling with a man, you can select a female driver and send a request. SRide also allows its passengers to connect with corporate users who are verified and can be trusted. Also, the riders and vehicle owners can readily track their rides. Please note that you can't make instant bookings through SRide; instead, you need to book at least an hour before you are ready to travel.
Nowadays, many organizations have also started providing cab services, primarily for female employees who work at odd hours. These cab services are mostly safe for a daily commute to work because companies verify the identity of drivers before hiring them. So, if you join an organization where you may have flexible shifts, make sure to enquire about this facility first.
Companies like Ola and Uber provide Ola Share and Uber Pool services, respectively, in which riders who are going on the same route can share a cab. These options help you in cutting the costs of traveling by a substantial amount. Ola Share offers the unique facility to share your ride with the people you choose.
You can join a daily commute group on its app, based on some common aspects - location, gender, and timings. It is available in metro cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune.
While cab services are convenient to hail, many question their security, owing to several unfortunate instances of predatory cab drivers. In light of this, to make transport more secure, Shuttl, India's largest app-based bus service platform, has introduced 'Shuttl Safe' in Delhi-NCR, and it is now available in other metro cities as well, such as Hyderabad, Pune, Kolkata, and Mumbai. The bus is designed with safety and emergency tools for the commuter to ensure responsible behavior from the driver.
On the app, you can track your journey and the time that the bus will take to reach the destination. The bus pass starts at Rs. 50, and the app is featured with ride-sharing and SOS alert buttons with the safety of women in mind. She-Shuttle is another exclusive transport system launched for working women professionals in Hyderabad. It can be booked through a diversified smart app called 'Reach Safe.' It is equipped with a well-monitored CCTV system, a female security guard, and a panic button on the smart app .
The services of this shuttle run from 8a.m-11p.m. She-Shuttle services have made Hyderabad secure for working women to a great extent, and they are quite affordable as well.
Womencabs is India's largest women-driven cab service provider for corporates. It was established in 2014 with a vision to uplift the lives of women, especially from rural areas. Currently, their services are operational in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, and Hyderabad. If you have odd working hours or have to travel long distances, then this facility is another secure mode to choose. Their services include airport and hotel transfers as well.
GPS Tracking: Put your GPS tracking on even after boarding a cab and keep tracking the route. In case you notice any odd change in direction, you can immediately inform any of your friends or relatives.
Share Your Route: Apps like Uber offer the provision to share your route map with any trusted contact once you board the cab.
Emergency Button: Most carpooling or shuttle apps include an emergency button or panic button nowadays, which you can utilize if you sense any danger.
Emergency Apps: You can also use emergency apps such as Nirbhaya and YatraMitr, which have SOS alerts and GPRS-based auto-fare calculators. Through such apps, your family can easily trace the route that you are traveling. Also, you can add up to three friends or relatives who you can call in case of an emergency on the app.
Pay Through E-wallets/Use Plastic Money: Don't put too much cash in your wallet; instead, pay using plastic money or online wallets such as Paytm to save yourself from the danger of theft or the hassle of finding change.
Don't Sleep While Traveling: If you are alone in a cab, then try not to sleep, as it could leave you unaware and defenceless in the face of harm.
Even though we have innumerable commute services available around us, finding a mode of daily commute is still a hard nut to crack. So, keep a number of daily commute apps ready on your phone and use them as per the requirement; also make sure that you remain vigilant while traveling.