Mumbai being a large tourist destination that attracts people from all over the world, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), along with GVK and Maharashtra Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (MCED), has planned to train taxi drivers in spoken English and behavioural skills.
Apart from spoken English, the drivers will be provided information on prominent tourist places across Mumbai. The project has been conceptualised in view of the growing number of tourists visiting Maharashtra, and also to ensure smooth flow of information between tourists and cab drivers, said a press note issued by the MTDC.
The project was kick-started on Tuesday at the Sahar airport with nearly 60 cab drivers being trained on the first day.
Taxi union leader AL Quadros said the workshop got good response. "Drivers are willing to participate as it will enhance their oratorial skills," he added.
Sagar Joshi, a commuter, said it was a good initiative and hoped that the drivers would actually implement it in real life. "It is good to know that the drivers are willing to attend such a workshop. Even if they don't greet the commuters, it would be good if they speak politely," he added.
Parvathy Nair, who regularly visits Mumbai from Bangalore, said it was a very good move as it would lead to better communication between passengers and drivers. "Non-Hindi speaking commuters often face communication problem in Mumbai. This will be a big boon," she said.
In the first phase, 1,110 cab drivers will be trained, of which 750 will be trained at the international airport itself. The remaining drivers will be trained at Dadar Station, Kurla Terminus, Bandra Terminus, CST, Mumbai Central and Churchgate Stations.
The project will be carried out in 37 training sessions spread over a period of two months with each batch having 30 drivers. Each cab driver who completes the training session will be given an identity card-cum-certificate. They will also be given seat covers, showing various destinations in Maharashtra, and related brochures.
MTDC has planned to conduct free medical camps for the cab drivers after a month. The corporation has also planned to replicate the training in other parts of Mumbai region, and also other cities of the state.