BMTC’s free training for women gains traction among Applicants
BMTC’s free training for women gains traction among Applicants

 BENGALURU: The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC)’s 33% reservation initiative plan for women drivers has long remained a stop. Instead, thanks to the Nirbhaya fund which became functional last month, the BMTC has earmarked around Rs 7.5 crore under the fund to train 1,000 women in driving buses and light motor vehicles, and 115 women in the city have enrolled so far. Of this, 103 are being trained in light motor vehicles (LMV) and 12 in heavy passenger vehicles (HPV) free of cost.

Applicants of LMV licence for a year can apply for HPV licence to drive buses. While LMV applicants are being trained on city roads, HPV applicants are based at the training centre in Vaddarahalli on Magadi Road.

A  large number of the trainees have expressed interest to join BMTC on the completion of their course. “It’s a useful scheme for us,” said Nagaratna Ravikumar, a resident of Bapuji Nagar, who joined the programme last week.“It’s not affordable to learn from private schools which charge more than Rs 5,000 to get a LMV licence. BMTC is teaching us free and once I get an LMV licence, I’ll apply for HPV so that I can join BMTC as a driver,” she said.

Jayanna MB, a BMTC driver-cum-instructor, said: “Once the training is completed, they all will be issued certificates. They will get preference when BMTC recruits drivers. We’re giving intensive professional training to women unlike private driving schools.”

The BMTC is process the women in two shifts : 6 AM -1 PM and 1 PM - 6 PM. “We hope there will be more awareness about the scheme in the coming days. The idea is to attract women drivers who are more sensible and follow traffic rules compared to male drivers,” said a senior BMTC official.This will also aid women explore employment opportunities especially in app-based taxis, school vehicles among others and also ensure a safer transport solution for women and children. Of the total driving licence holders in the state, the number of women stands at a low 15%. Meanwhile, KSRTC is also planning to give free driving training to women under the Nirbhaya Fund.

At present, BMTC, which has fleet of 6,677 buses, has only one woman driver.

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