For the first time, several women have been short-listed to drive the buses run by the Uttar Pradesh State Roadways Transport Corporation.
S.P. Singh, principal of the UPSRTC Model Driving Training and Research Institute in Kanpur, the only one in the state to train bus drivers, said, “The process to train women bus drivers has been initiated for the first time in UP.
“The 19 women who have been found eligible will undergo a seven-month basic training, after which they will serve a 17-month probation at depots as part of the advanced training module.”
Under the PM’s Skill India Mission, women between the ages of 18 and 34 who have studied up to Class 8 and are at least 160 cm (about 5 foot 3 inch) tall and have a learners’ permit for light motor vehicles can be recruited.
The basic training is free of cost. During probation, their food and accommodation will be covered by the state. At the end of the two-year programme, they will get a heavy motor vehicle license.
The training of the first batch will start training in March.
Once recruited, the women will be drivers on the Pink Express buses. These air-conditioned buses have vehicle tracking systems and CCTV cameras onboard for safety.
“UPSRTC has 50 such pink buses that are driven by men as of now. Initially, the newly trained women will be asked to take over these buses. They will finally run the way they were meant to be, safer and by women,” said Singh.
When the Pink Express bus service was launched for women in UP, the state had a strange problem at hand. The service was meant to provide a safe travel option for women, with only women staff on board. But while they got conductors and support staff, there were no certified women bus drivers.