1st woman driver does DTC proud

Has driven auto earlier

Sarita, a resident of Andhra Pradesh, has virtually become the mascot of the Delhi Transport Corporation by qualifying, ahead of the International Women’s Day, to be the first woman driver of the public transporter.

The 30-year-old is currently undergoing training and within weeks she would in the driver’s seat.

“She is the only applicant, out of a dozen, who has cleared all tests to qualify for the driver’s training,” said DTC spokesman R S Minhas.

For Sarita, driving a DTC bus may be slightly easy as she already holds a heavy motor vehicle driving licence.

“Sarita holds a HMV licence but we will still train her according to our own module,” said Minhas.

Officials of the DTC are hoping that Sarita’s entry into the drivers’ team would encourage other women to take up similar profession.

The response to the DTC’s invitation of application from aspiring women drivers has been dull but officials believe that with Sarita a beginning has been made.

“Once other women see Sarita in action they might get inspired to follow her footsteps,” said another official. 

He said no decision had yet been taken on the route which Sarita may be deployed after she completes her training.

Sarita has been pursuing driving as a profession for over a decade. She has also driven an autorickshaw earlier.

The DTC decided in December 2014 to hire women bus drivers for the first time. The advertisement for hiring came close to a rape in a cab which sparked a fresh debate over safety of women in public transport vehicles – an issue highlighted earlier by the December 16, 2012 gangrape.

For facilitating the entry women in a male-dominate club, the DTC relaxed the qualification norms for the hiring of women drivers for training before getting a heavy motor vehicle driving licence.

For men applying for the post of DTC drivers, possession of a HMV driving licence and three years’ driving experience is a pre-condition and the maximum age limit is 35 years.

The maximum age limit for women drivers applying for the post is 40 years and they also do not need to have three years’ experience in driving a heavy vehicle.

An aspiring woman driver from the general category needs to have studied up to class 10 and should not be older than 40 years, according to the DTC’s rules.

The DTC, on an average, needs over 12,000 drivers daily for its 5,500-strong fleet. Difficulty in identifying aspiring drivers has resulted in a perennial shortage of drivers,
forcing a large number of buses remaining underutilised in depots. The problem has been aggravated by indiscipline among contractual drivers who do not report on duty on time or take frequent leaves without information.

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