To encourage more women to take up driving jobs, the transport department has decided to provide relaxation in eligibility criteria for women who want to join the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) as well as cluster bus services run by the DIMTS. Under the new scheme, women need not have any prior experience to apply for the post.
As per the current DTC guidelines, men and women need to have three years of experience to join as bus drivers. The department has done away with this criterion for women while keeping it in place for men.
The transport department has however kept the condition that women applying for the post should have a valid heavy vehicle license issued by the Delhi Transport Authority.
After passing the fitness and driving test, the department will provide a one-month course to women at Burari testing centre, in a tie-up with Ashok Leyland, which provides the course.
Though the fee for this course is Rs 10,000 per month, the government has decided to make it free for women. Further, the department will also provide a small stipend to women during the training period.
“The stipend amount is yet to be decided but it will be around Rs 8,000-10,000. Also, it will be half-day training, so the women can take care of any other work in the second half. The relaxation is being given so more women can join the fleet,” said a senior transport official.
There are 13 women who have so far passed the driving test and 12 of them are ready to take the course. “We have women taxi drivers but there is a barrier when it comes to driving buses and the department is now trying to remove that. We now have low-floor buses with seat adjustment facilities. Upcoming buses are also designed and manufactured in a way that women drivers can handle them easily,” said Ashish Kundra, special secretary and transport commissioner.
Another senior official added that women drivers will also have to go through an in-house training course provided by the DTC, following which they will be appointed for the job.
“Some people think that women cannot handle a bus and accidents will increase if they become drivers. We want to debunk this myth. Twelve drivers currently fit for the job have cleared the test. Women are flying fighter planes, going to space, handling trains, Metros, then what is the issue with a bus? We want more women to join the city’s transport force and make roads safer for pedestrians as well as commuters. It will also give a sense of safety to women and young girls who travel late at night,” said an official.
A draft is ready and has been forwarded to the transport minister for final approval. The new guidelines will be implemented by the month-end and the course will start in March.
Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot had in November said the transport department will also consider giving 33 per cent reservation to women in bus driving posts, particularly on the electric variety. The DTC currently has one woman driver and around 1,200 women conductors.