Indore is breaking gender apartheid challenges by employing women as bus drivers. The two Pink iBuses exclusively for female passengers in the city will also be driven by women. The buses already have women conductors but no drivers.
The two employees are - 25-year-old Ritu Narwal and 25-year-old Archana Katare. While Katare is yet to start her work, Narwal drove the vehicle for the first on Thursday, September 2, covering Niranjanpur Crossing and Rajiv Gandhi Crossing.
A resident of Patnipura, Narwal expressed her happiness and said it was a 'childhood dream come true for her. "Despite my father telling me that driving cars, buses and trucks was a male preserve, I was stubborn enough to achieve my dream," Ritu told The New Indian Express.
The city has set examples earlier by employing women as auto-rickshaw drivers, cab drivers, and so forth. Narwhal has been one of those employees. Earlier in 2015, she drove a van carrying school children with special needs and later taxis at five-star hotels in Indore.
A mother of two, Archana Katare, has experience as a commercial driver since 2015 and driving taxis of prominent hotels in the city. She is a resident of Moosakhedi and is currently a second-year student of Bachelors of Arts.
Launched in 2019, the buses are exclusively for female passengers. Atal Indore City Transport Services Limited (AICTSL) PRO, Mala Singh Thakur, said the buses did not have women drivers, as there weren't any trained women with heavy transport vehicle licenses. But the search ended after they found Narwal and Katare. Singh said the corporation is looking for another two women drivers.
The duo would be serving the morning shift between 8 am and 2 pm. Both have undergone a month-long training (3:00 am- 5:00 pm) to drive the iBus.