Railway statistics say that at least 20 percent of the 2.3 crore people who travel daily by trains are women. But most women do not feel safe while commuting on India's railway networks
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Having been banned in 2015 for animal cruelty, Mumbai's iconic horse-drawn—no, scratch that—battery-driven Victoria carriages are finally going to hit the city's roads. Called Victoria 2.0, these revamped and cooler updates on the old buggies are eco-friendly (battery-operated) and hi-tech. Maharashtra Tourism, in collaboration with the transport company Ubo Ridez, has equipped the 12 carriages with GPS-driven audio tours.
The e-buggies were supposed to start last year itself but the launch was delayed by the pandemic. Under the first phase of the drive, the carriages will ply on routes connecting the iconic landmarks of the city such as the Gateway of India, Nariman Point and Marine Drive. Victoria 2.0 is expected to add another dimension to Mumbai's rich reserve of heritage and historical attractions, not to forget the sumptuous colonial architectural beauty of South Mumbai.
With a seating capacity of six in addition to the driver, the buggies are pretty much a leisure-hour feature—they will run from 4pm in the evening to 2am in the wee hours.
The carriages come with a GPS Intelligent Proximity Triggering system for multilingual commentary, enlightening passengers about the city's historical sites, museums and other sites. Or you could play your own music—they are equipped with Bluetooth speakers as well.
These quaint, red-and-black carriages, rolling along gently, might transport you to the city's beautiful past briefly but they are also geared to serve tourists and locals according to the present context: they run on eco-friendly, lithium-ion batteries, have sanitisation stands and are cleaned between rides. It will be mandatory for everyone aboard to have their mask on at all times.
How might you book, you ask? “We are encouraging E-wallet payments through all popular E-wallet platforms. As for the bookings, we are also tying up with multiple platforms such as Khaki Tours, Bookmyshow and our own Facebook and Instagram pages,” explains Ketan Kadam, Founder/CEO, UBO Ridez Pvt Ltd. You'll need to pay Rs 500 for short rides and the longer ones cost Rs 750.
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