India’s capital city has hired its first ever female bus driver, Vankadarath Saritha, at a time when women’s safety on public transportation is becoming an increasingly pressing issue in the country. Saritha, 30, says that her first priority will be the safety of her female passengers, and officials added that they hope this move will inspire more women to pursue driving as a career. While other states have had female drivers for years, it’s the first time Delhi’s public transportation has hired a woman. Saritha, one of five sisters, began driving to help make ends meet and drove an auto rickshaw and van before getting behind the wheel of a bus as a private chauffeur. Since public transport is seen as generally unsafe for women, especially after the horrifying 2012 gang-rape on a Delhi bus, the move by the Delhi Transport Corporation is also an attempt for the company to boost its own image. “Having a woman driver will help improve the image of our service,” DTC official R.S. Minhas said. “We had received seven to eight applications and we hired Saritha. Now we will advertise again and hire more women drivers.” While we hope this will turn out to be more than a PR stunt by the company, any step to increase women’s safety is a step in the right direction.
Read the full story at BBC.