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Gender awareness tips for drivers in Calcutta

App cab aggregator conducts training workshop

By Anasuya Basu in Calcutta

  • Published 19.10.19, 7:13 AM
  • Updated 19.10.19, 7:13 AM
Uber is conducting such sessions in seven other Tier 1 cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Guwahati
Uber is conducting such sessions in seven other Tier 1 cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Guwahati (Shutterstock)

Never follow a passenger to his or her house even if asked

Help your passenger reach her destination safely; behave professionally even if she creates a nuisance

These were some of the advice handed out to Uber drivers at a gender sensitisation programme in the city recently.

Uber driver Tanmoy Ghosh, who has been on the app cab platform for over three years now, shared how a lady passenger once called him to her apartment to collect the fare.

“I knew I couldn’t follow her to her flat. I waited in my car for some time, hoping she would come out and give me my fare. When she didn’t, I left, forgoing the money,” Ghosh said at the gender sensitisation programme conducted by Manas Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO that also works with the drivers of Delhi State Transport Corporation.

The workshop at Tiljala Road was attended by around 30 driver partners.

Ghosh was right in not following the lady to her flat, said a Manas trainer who encouraged the drivers to narrate their experiences on the platform.

“Our community guidelines strictly forbid driver partners to follow passengers to their houses,” the trainer said. “It is unfortunate that Ghosh was deprived of his earning but following the lady to her flat might have landed him in trouble.”

Also discussed were instances of women returning from late-night parties falling asleep in the cab or inebriated women creating a nuisance during the ride. The cardinal rule to follow in such instances is “to help your passenger reach her destination safely”.

“You have to behave professionally. It’s your duty to reach your passengers safely. So you should do that regardless of how your passengers might be behaving,” said the trainer.

Uber has been conducting these gender sensitisation programmes for driver partners since June. “We conduct two sessions per day, six days a week,” said an Uber spokesperson.

The app cab aggregator piloted the programme last year with 1,000 driver partners. This year it plans to reach out to 6,000 driver partners.

“We send out messages to our partners and ask them to attend. They come according to their convenience,” said the spokesperson.

Uber is conducting such sessions in seven other Tier 1 cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai and Guwahati.

Driver partners who attend the training sessions are given certificates stating that they have been through a gender sensitisation programme. The certificates are displayed in the cab so that riders know which drivers have been trained, said the Uber spokesperson.

The sessions also focus on existing legislations on women’s safety. The driver partners at the city workshop were about Sections 354C, 509 and 376 of the Indian Penal

Code and about the Vishakha guidelines. IPC 354 C deals with voyeurism, IPC 509 stipulates the punishment for insulting the modesty of a woman and IPC 376 deals with rape.

Uber driver Satyen came back with his daughter for a second session. “The workshop talks a lot about laws relating to safety of girls, so I thought she should attend it. I did not understand the whole thing very well, so I thought she should hear it directly,” he said.

“We try to make drivers aware of the gender laws regarding to sensitise them. Once they are sensitised, their behaviour at home towards their wives and other women in their community also changes. It is this change in society that we are working towards,” said the trainer.

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