by Prashant Kapadia/NHN
One after another, women in India are breaking the gender stereotypes by proving their calibre and capabilities across different professions. Nowadays, several women, proving the conventional thoughts wrong, are opting driving as full-time profession. The absolute number may be smaller, but today more and more women are taking interest in being professional trainers at driving schools and dealerships.
Yogita Bhaskar Mane and Chitra Ramrao Shikre, who opted bus driving as full-time occupation, both from Mumbai, are driving buses atleast 200 kms per day on roads of Navi Mumbai and are proud of their achievements. These women encountered several issues initially but soon, people around them started respecting their decision once they saw their performance.
Hired under the Tejaswini bus scheme for women, the two lady drivers are effectively driving Eicher Skyline PRO Midi buses. The scheme basically tends to provide a safer and more comfortable commute for working women. Everything from the bus to the staff is adapted for women empowerment. The buses being run are equipped with advance technology and supplied by Eicher Motors. These are Eicher Skyline PRO City Buses build on the Midi platform.
The biggest advantage that the Eicher Skyline PRO Bus bring was the advance AMT (Automated Manual transmission) which eliminates the clutch paddle & frequent gear shifting, improve product mileage and make the life of the driver easy. Apart from AMT the bus also has features like tilt and telescoping steering, roll down drive side window on the full length driver door and 3 ways adjustable driver seat for ergonomics and comfort during the long duty hours. A big safety feature is the Hill Start Assist (HSA) which is effectively used in a city like Mumbai which has numerous flyovers and heavy traffic conditions. These features further make the product much more comfortable and safe even women’s can drive it so easily
According to Ms Mane and Ms Shikre, they initially took a three months training in manual driving and later were trained by Eicher extensively for automatic transmission vehicles. When asked about how they feel about their job, they replied that they are very happy to be part a scheme that meant for women safety and security. “We are happy and satisfied that we are able to somehow contribute in safety of women,” they said. With their passionate and unorthodox approach, in new India, women like Ms Mane and Ms Shikre are establishing a concrete example before the patriarchal society that the women of this great nation are nowhere less capable than men.
In new India these women are able to access the opportunities available to them without limitations and restrictions. Such women are recreating and redefining what they can do and accomplish by taking on challenges that they previously were denied.
VE Commercial vehicles has always been committed towards the modernization and Upliftment of passenger transportation industry and intends to address the issue of manpower shortage and address skill development by undertaking various initiatives like training and development, drivers’ welfare, safety programs etc. besides product improvements. Lack of skilled drivers is one major concern for the operators including state transport undertaking. – Eicher is addressing this concern by giving regular training to drivers and around 2800 drivers trained till date.
On the importance of driver training, B Srinivas, Sr. Vice President, BUS – Sales & Marketing, VE Commercial Vehicles said, “The automotive industry currently faces an acute shortage of skilled drivers, especially in the city bus segment. The Driver Training initiatives highlights our commitment to the driver education and upskilling as well as employment generation in the industry. Through these training program, these drivers overcome the skills gap required to obtain licenses to drive heavy commercial vehicles which widens the scope of opportunities available to them”.