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Friday, 3 April 2015

The perfect way forward

There is no dearth of innovative ideas in the City and ‘KickStart’, a venture by Vidhya Ramasubban is one which has shown the right way forward. A cab-service that started functioning from last year, it enables the differently-abled and senior citizens to travel in the City without  restrictions. 

Armed with a Masters in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Vidhya has worked extensively in the social sector in India and abroad. She has also spearheaded People’s Action Group for Inclusion and Rights (PAGIR), a disability movement and has launched a travel company, ‘Himalaya on Wheels’, for the differently-abled, in Ladakh. “My long-haul in the social sector and dealing with issues relating to disability told me that a gap exists in equitable transport services. 

So, I felt that there is a growing need to bring about a mechanism which deals with inclusive development,” she says.  A socially progressive and an economically viable service, ‘KickStart’ has tied up with many engineering companies and mechanics to remodel their cars that make travel more comfortable for the differently-abled. One of their cabs has a swivel chair that can jut half way out of the front door which helps the passenger make an easy transition into the car seat.

Their second model has a ramp that opens out of the vehicle back door, allowing a wheel chair to be wheeled in. Their cab also has a detachable seat that can be converted into a wheel chair. Sensitive and trained drivers who escort passengers make ‘KickStart’ a unique cab-service. The booking takes place through phone calls and their website. ‘KickStart’ offers point-to-point drops, airport drops, outstation trips and local hire. The cab service also provides pick-up and drop facilities to the hospital, which comes as a great help for those who have to visit hospitals for regular check-ups. 

The service also caters to differently-abled school children.   As this is a capital-intensive venture, Vidhya cites funding as one of the challenges when she first started her venture. As they have just kickstarted in Bengaluru, Vidhya feels that the start-up has a long way to go. “We are planning to scale up in the City and are focussed on branching out to other cities.” She adds, “The City is not friendly to the differently-abled and we have to cater to every aspect to make it helpful for them — be it looking after the roads, malls and even parks. There are a lot of non-profit organisations which help the differently-abled but the government has to step up.” For details, visit or call 8105600445.

Source: Deccan Herald , 3rd April 2015 

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