Udupi city buses get a feminine touch2 min read
Udupi: Udupi City Bus Owners Association (UCBOA) recently introduced female conductors in city buses to meet an acute crunch in manpower, while paving the way for women representation in public transport. They will be working in tandem with their male counterparts particularly in the Udupi-Ambalpadi route.
The women conductors have been appointed on an ad-hoc basis and no specific quota exists for them for filling up of the vacancies. Santosh, office staffer of the Association, on being enquired about it confirmed, “The move (to appoint women conductors) is an altogether new phenomenon implemented on an experimental basis due to which there isn’t any quota for them. With time, the rules can be amended to include a separate provision.”
Around 12 women conductors drawn from different places of the region have been pressed in to service as of now. The recruits from Karwar, Bhatkal and other neighboring places have been accommodated in nearby guest houses and PG’s being provided by the Association. “We work in two shifts—9am to 4pm while 4pm to 8pm being the night shift,” Trisha Amin, a new recruit said, adding “There isn’t much issue regarding our own personal safety, as two of us, one at each end handles the passengers.”
Though having received basic training prior to their appointments, they’d still have to cope with the strenuous job of a conductor. Ashok Kumar of Sudhar Travels, Moodabidri opines, “A conductor’s job is not an easy one having to handle bus-loads of passengers during the peak hours. It’s a good initiative but I think they will take some time to familiarise themselves with the nature of our job.”
Suraiyya, a lady passenger agreed, “The Association should take further steps to make sure the women conductors can aptly replace their male colleagues.”
SSLC/PUC was the lower criterion level of educational qualification set for the applicants numbering more than 40. The Association plans to employ more women conductors in the future if the first experimental phase goes off smoothly.
Sub-edited by Bhavani Seetharaman