There is nothing to be proud about being the only woman driving a DTC bus in Delhi. You people should ask yourself- Why other women are not taking up this job?V Saritha
V Saritha came to Delhi from Telengana in 2012 after she read about an NGO - Azad Foundation, where women drivers were being trained.
She neither knew Hindi nor the roads in Delhi, but she knew one thing really well – how to drive a bus. After 6-months of training, Saritha was ready to take on Delhi and its roads. But she still had to wait for 3 years to get behind the DTC wheels.
Finally, in 2015, Sarita was selected from a pool of 10 women applicants for the post of a driver in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC).
Back home in her village in Telengana, Saritha was driving an auto to support her family – parents and four sisters. Then she moved on to drive a bus for Holy Mary college in Hyderabad. But the DTC job brought with it some sense of job security.
Saritha’s day starts from the Sarojini Nagar Depot at 5 am and ends at the same point at 12.30 in the afternoon. She says driving on Delhi roads is all about maintaining your calm.
We have to be careful of other vehicles on the road while driving. Getting angry is something we can’t afford. Especially because we have the responsibility of so many lives on board.V Saritha
Saritha expected a lot from the job, she thought being the only women bus driver of DTC would have some perks but nothing of that sort happened. Even after driving for 5 years, she’s not a permanent employee. She gets paid for every kilometre she drives. The rate is Rs 6.5 per kilometre and she drives about 130 kms everyday – that’s a daily average of Rs 848.
Even after putting in extra hours her earnings are not enough to support herself and look after her parents in Telengana.
DTC buses are also not the most reliable piece of machinery. They break down quite often, the air conditioners fail regularly, the doors get jammed. And then, there’s the chaos that the passengers create.
The buses have a capacity to carry 40-50 people and almost 90-100 people travel at a time. And passengers don’t even wish to adjust. Most men wouldn’t give seat to women even at the designated seats. I always make sure that in my bus that never happens. I even fight at times for this.V Saritha
Saritha has been awarded many times, but the harsh reality of life is that awards don’t pay for your bills. For that one needs money and financial security.
I have knocked the doors of the officials, met the transport minister of Delhi and Telengana as well, but have received no help. I was promised that I will be made permanent after 6 months on the job but the promise has not been fulfilled.V Saritha
Delhi has taught me a lot. Enough for a lifetime. Everyday there is a lesson to learn from. People start their day with listening to bhajans, I start my day with listening to bhajans (abuses) of people.V Saritha
Kiren Bedi is saritha’s role model and she tells us that’s what she was called in back in Telengana. She isn’t married and tells us that she doesn’t even plan to get married.
I miss my parents a lot. My only dream is to live with them and look after them.V Saritha
Taking a cue from Saritha, some women conductors have applied for the driver’s post. And Saritha is happy that soon she may not be the only women bus driver in Delhi. She can definitely do with some company on the road.