Wednesday marked yet another milestone in the way Indians and India perceive the LGBT community.
India’s first ever LGBT community-run radio taxi service was launched on Wednesday.
The initiative was started by Wings Travels and Humsafar Trust and is expected to be fully functional by 2017. Five members of the Trust, volunteered and signed up to drive the radio cabs.
These 5 members, under the pilot programme, will apply for a learner’s license, and by the end of the tarining will have received their All India Driver’s Licence.
These drivers will also undergo customer ettiquette training in the 9-12 months till they get their driver’s license. Arun Kharat, founder-director of Wings Travels and Management said, “We want them to be eventual entrepreneurs and own these vehicles. We want to ensure that the LGBT community in India enjoys the same rights and livelihood opportunities in India as their counterparts in the West.”
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In the NALSA vs Union of India case, transgenders had been given constitutional rights and freedoms.
Pallav Patankar, programme director at Humsafar Trust, said, “After the NALSA (National Legal Services Authority) judgment, several business houses came forward to offer employment to the transgender and sexual minority community. In the current batch, we have two members of the hijra community, but we hope that more members of the hijra and transgender community will come forward.”
Wings Travels is currently operating in 9 cities including Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, and Chandigarh with an approximate fleet of 5,500 radio taxis.
Mr Kharat also added, “While the first five are trained, we will continue enrolment from the LGBT community up to 1,500 people across all nine cities. We are aiming to turn it a pan-India scheme.”
Awesome job Mumbai!