In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the private bus sector in the state, women conductors will be seen issuing tickets to passengers in the near future.Private Bus Operators Federation state president M D Sathyan said that they will soon hold talks with the Ernakulam RTO in this regard.
“There is a huge dearth of conductors in the private bus sector. Male conductors who come for duty for some days might not turn up the next day, putting the bus operators in a lurch. We are forced to contemplate roping in migrant labourers for the conductor job. Now, we are planning to induct women for the job,” Sathyan said.
Applications inviting women to apply for the job in the Ernakulam sector will be put up next week. “We expect a positive response to this initiative, and hopefully this will solve the issue of conductor shortage in the near future,” he said, adding that women above 18 years will be considered for the job.“If successful in Ernakulam, the scheme will be implemented in other parts of the state too,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fort Kochi Joint RTO Sajith said steps are already in process to appoint women as conductors in private buses in the West Kochi region.
“This is an initiative of the Motor Vehicle Department. The private bus operators have been demanding to induct migrant labourers to fill the vacancies. However, that will lead to security issues in the future. It will be difficult to monitor such persons for their criminal background. So, we held talks with the bus operators asking them to consider appointing women for the job,” the RTO said.
According to him, 90 per cent of the private bus operators have shown their interest to the new move. In the initial phase, women conductors will be introduced on Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Chellanam routes, where competition among buses is less.
Once, they get sufficient experience, they will be deployed in city buses. Sathyan said that the new initiative will also help women feel safe in buses.
“We are planning to prepare special schedules which will be convenient for the women staff. Since women usually travel between 7 am and 7 pm, the schedule will be prepared in that manner,” he said.Women looking to apply for the job should have passed SSLC. “However, we are planning to give jobs for those women who have studied at least up to tenth standard. This will also provide more job opportunities for women,” he said.
The KSRTC was the first transport sector in the state to open doors for women conductors. “Now more women are joining the sector. This year, there has been a steady increase in the number of women conductors in the KSRTC,” said KSRTC Ernakulam ATO Rajagopal.