Kolkata, Feb 20 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday launched ‘Pink Cabs’ in the city as a safer mode of transport for women.

Driven by and for women, the white and pink cars would run on app-based platforms.

Handing over car keys to 10 women drivers of Pink Cabs, Banerjee said, “This move is aimed at encouraging women to be in the driver’s seat.”

The West Bengal government will hike the subsidy for women drivers to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh under the Gatidhara scheme, the chief minister said.

Gatidhara is a self-employment scheme of the transport department to encourage youths to buy small vehicles and use them for earning livelihood.

Banerjee said altogether 36,000 youths have got subsidies under the Gatidhara scheme.

She said 1000 Pink Cabs will hit the city roads in a short period.

Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari, who was also present at the programme, said the Pink Cabs would provide a secure environment to passenger as they would feel comfortable to have a woman at the wheels.

The 10 women, who received car keys, hailed from the city and neighbouring North and South 24 Parganas districts and Howrah.

The chief minister also flagged off 20 of the 80 electric buses which will be plying on different city routes.

“We have always kept the public transport and other amenities running. We have never allowed any halt in bus services during bandh days,” she said.

Banerjee said 2100 new buses have been introduced in the past seven years.

The remaining electric 60 buses will be rolled out by May this year, the transport minister said.

For charging of these buses, 17 charging stations have been constructed at various depots of the West Bengal Transport Corporation.

The department also run 20 CNG buses on the Kolkata-Asansol route, Adhikari said without elaborating.

The CM said bus stands will be renovated in districts to provide passengers better amenities.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.