Delhi hires ever first female bus driver
Delhi has hired its first ever female bus driver to help women feel safer on India’s public transport.
Vankadarath Saritha, a 30-year-old driver from Telangana, started work at the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) yesterday.
She told the Times of India: “It will be a challenge as the reputation of drivers isn’t so good, but I would follow all the rules and especially keep women safety in mind.”
Her appointment comes as India has been struggling to combat rape and sexual harassment.
Delhi’s transport and rural development minister Gopal Rai said: “This step would allay government’s concern regarding women’s security in the capital.
“The transport department would always appreciate and encourage women’s contribution to such sectors where they’re currently not participating.”
DTC official RS Minhas said he hopes more women will apply to be bus driver at the firm, adding: “Having a woman driver will help improve the image of our service.”
Saritha started her career as an autorickshaw driver and then worked as a taxi driver in Delhi before securing her job as a bus driver. She said the job will make it easy to support her family of five sisters and her father, a farmer.
“I want to give a message to the women in our society that no job is meant only for men. Women can do anything if they value their potential.”
Some Indian states have had female bus drivers for years. And, in January this year, Nepal launched a women-only bus service to stop cases of sexual harassment. A 2013 World Bank survey showed that a quarter (26 per cent) of young women – aged between 19 and 35 – living in Nepal had experienced sexual harassment on public transport.