India’s capital city hired its first woman bus driver while the country is still trying to figure out how ladies can board public transportation safely.
Vankadarath Saritha is the first in her position at Delhi Transport Corporation, but according to the BBC, some other Indian states already have women as bus drivers. Officials hope 30-year-old Saritha’s new job will inspire more women to join her at the company and numerous riders came to get a good look at this woman behind the wheel on her first day.
Formerly a private chauffeur, Saritha began driving to make ends meet.
“We are five sisters. I first learnt to drive an auto rickshaw and then drove a van for a college, before driving a bus.”
Now, she says, she intends to help her family with her salary and buy gold ear-rings for herself.
Ball out, Saritha.
A DTC official, on the other hand, makes it clear that Delhi’s bus company needs a new, non-violent face to fix the perception of their company both at home and abroad as a space where gang rapes can happens.
“Having a woman driver will help improve the image of our service,” DTC official RS Minhas said. “We had received seven to eight applications and we hired Saritha. Now we will advertise again and hire more women drivers.”
This brand reinvention follows the horrifying 2012 gang-rape and subsequent death of 23-year-old Jyoti Singh on a Delhi bus. Elsewhere an Uber driver is accused of raping a passenger last December and has plead not guilty and eight suspects were recently arrested for robbing and gang-raping a nun.
India’s Girls, the documentary chronicling Singh’s story was banned in India earlier this year and leaders pushed for their ban to reach internationally. Instead, countries like England, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, and most recently America either moved up their premiere or added the film to their release schedule.
Saritha has made a great stride but it certainly seems like DTC is really trying to rescue their image as danger on wheels, which isn’t necessarily fair to her career.
Image via BBC News.