How often do you spot an autorickshaw that is being driven by women? You must be thinking that what are we talking about? Yes, we are in our senses in fact better than ever. While in the Pink City, we recently spotted one and even got a ride on an e-rickshaw that was being driven by lady. And that’s what women empowerment looks like!
Rajasthan’s Pink City, Jaipur is known for its culture and heritage. There are forts, palaces, temples, famous markets, eating joints and so much more. Tourists looking for sightseeing services in Jaipur can now book these environment friendly e-rickshaws that are being driven by women.
What Is It
The Pink City Rickshaw Co. is a unique initiative by Access Development, a non-profit organisation that has trained women from the not too privileged sections of the society to drive these battery-operated e-rickshaws to earn money. Started with 40 women, this company has about 200 women employees today who drive these e-rickshaws and give tourists the tour of their city.
These pink e-rickshaws are such a delight to the eyes. It has a collapsible canopy and well-designed seats, a locker for safekeeping of belongings of the clients, a mobile charger, water bottle holder, city maps and so on.
These women drivers also wear pink uniforms with their name tags. How cool is that right?
One of the drivers, Renu Sharma, said that earlier she was assisting a nurse where she didn’t get enough money and the timings were such that she couldn’t give time to her children. One day, she told her husband about this initiative, who runs a paan kiosk, and he found the idea of a woman driving rickshaw a bit odd, but was supportive of her signing up for this. She did not face any opposition from other family members either. She has been trained to interact with tourists, including foreigners, and can still use a few English words.
Another driver Vasanta Gosai told us that her husband left her three years ago and her four kids had to be taken care of. “I started washing clothes and utensils(bartan) at different houses, but my kids didn’t like it. One day, I got to know about this initiative but I didn’t know how to drive then. But then they trained me and today, my kids are proud of me for what I do”, she added.
This initiative is not only giving them financial support but also making them independent.
Where Do They Take You
To be able to spend enough time with family, they have introduced short tours which usually take 3-4 hours. And depending on their availability, these women take their routes.
Presently, they are offering three tours – heritage, crafts and shopping in which they cover places like Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Bapu Bazaar, Johari Bazaar, Phool Mandi, Birla Mandir etc. These routes are designed keeping in mind the tourists’ preferences.
Most of their customers are foreigners so Pink City Rickshaw Co. taught them few common English words and signs too so that these women can communicate with the tourists. They also get good tips from them apart from the actual cost of the trip.
One of the women drivers also said that they like when their trip is with some foreigner as they greet these ladies well and even click pictures with them.
Riding on these e-rickshaws to explore the city around with these women is such a great feeling of pride. These tours offer the perfect opportunity to respectfully observe daily life as well as chat with such forward-thinking and empowered women.
Cost: ₹2000 onwards per route
Bookings have to be made 24 hours prior to the trip