The Capital Region Urban Transport (Crut) authorities have recently launched e-autos with trained women and transgender drivers to ensure last-mile connectivity to the residents of Bhubaneswar. Crut is an arm of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) that implements Smart City projects.
The e-autos provide comfortable and safe rides to passengers from their doorstep to any desired location across the city. Commuters can board these vehicles from bus stops as well.
Crut, with the help of private agencies, selected 50 candidates, including 10 transgenders, from the city’s poor economic areas based on their educational background and willingness to take up the job. The selected candidates got a month long training.
“Crut officials gave us the required training and provided us the e-autos, which we charge at night and start working at 8.30 in the morning. We wrap up by 6.30pm. We don’t drive at night,” said Minakshi Das, a driver. Each e-auto costs about Rs 2 lakh.
Each of the drivers gets a monthly salary of Rs 12,000. “Crut has given us facilities like provident funds and medical insurance. We are happy to be self-reliant. Customers behave nicely with us,” Das told TOI.
Sanjubala Sahoo, another e-auto driver, said it is a job that exposes her to the outside world and makes her confident. “We are devoting around 10 hours a day, including lunch break, for the job. We have time to spend with family in the evening,” she added.
Crut general manager Dipti Mohapatra said in India, the number of women drivers in public transport is negligible.
“This initiative has reduced male dominance in the public transport sector by involving women and transgenders as sarathis (drivers). Ït is a lucrative livelihood opportunity that has helped women and transgenders come to the mainstream,” she added.