They choose to be conductors
Under the Nirbhaya scheme, BMTC had announced more women would be trained to drive heavy passenger vehicles, but presently the corporation has only one woman driver.
BMTC PRO Deepak N informed The Observer that there arent many women drivers because driving a bus is considered tough. There are six or seven women drivers-cum-conductors but only one is working as a driver.
BMTC has compulsory training programmes for the drivers and conductors on how to behave with passengers, especially women. It has 1,500 women conductors.
Sathyalaxmi, a woman conductor, said: “Most of the women are conductors because it (issuing tickets) is easier than driving. Though training is given, most women feel it is difficult to drive a bus. There is one woman driver, Prema, who drives buses. Women should take up training and not be scared of driving heavy vehicles.”
Jyothi, another woman conductor, said: “A few years ago, there were six or seven women drivers. But later, they became conductors because they felt the job of a conductor was easier. If a woman knows to drive a bus, she is appointed as a driver-cum-conductor. She can choose the work she wants to do. When given this option, women prefer to take the job of a conductor.”
The Observer tried to speak to personnel at the BMTC Training Centre but they refused to answer queries.
Prema Ramappa Nadapatti, the only woman BMTC driver, remarked: “When women can fly aeroplanes and drive Metro trains, they can easily drive buses too. They consider driving buses tough, but it is not. Women can drive if they want to. There is nothing impossible.”
Swati Desai of the Bangalore Women Power Organization said: “Most of the women do not know about the opportunities they have due to lack of awareness. Campaigns like Pink Cabs which had women cab drivers was much spoken about, but later it failed as there was no awareness about it. If we work more on education and awareness, women can definitely achieve in any field.”
In 2018, under the Nirbhaya Fund, BMTC allotted Rs 7.3 crore to train up to 1,000 women for free.
According to news reports, BMTC last year had enrolled 115 women to train them in driving heavy passenger and light motor vehicles, but only 162 women have completed their training.