Commuters in India's financial capital Mumbai will soon get to travel in radio cabs driven by members of the LGBT community. The initiative, which is the first in the country, would initially see five taxis driven by transgendered and gay men.
The programme is called Wings Rainbow has been jointly launched by Humsafar Trust and Wings Travels – a mainstream travel company – in Mumbai on 20 January. Founder and director of Wings Travels, Arun Kharat, said that nearly Rs4,000 (£42) per person will be spent on training the drivers. He claimed that the members/drivers would earn nearly Rs15,000 per month under the project.
According to Times of India, Wings Rainbow is expected to roll-out in a year's time. "Before that [the complete roll-out] we will absorb the drivers in our private taxi services to help them gain experience," Kharat said.
"Once we establish these five drivers we will increase the fleet. We have openings for nearly 1,500 LGBT members in Mumbai under the programme. We are aiming to turn it into a pan-India scheme," he stressed.
"Judgments and laws are passed, but they are limited only to conversations. This initiative is a way to turn 'intellectualisation' into reality," Pallav Patankar, director programmes at Humsafar Trust was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, one of the trainees at the pilot project said: "We were at first a bit awkward about dressing up in trousers and shirts. But when we were told that we could drive around formally draped in a sari, we were comfortable. Only when livelihood issues are resolved will our community really come out of the poor condition it is trapped in."