Transgenders Embark On A New Journey As ‘Mo Bus’ Conductors In Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: After getting engaged in tax collections and parking fee, transgenders have now been included in another mainstream activity.

Two members of the transgender community have been appointed as conductors in Mo Bus, a public transport managed by Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) in Bhubaneswar.

The two transgenders, Wasima and Surmayee Das, started working for the public transport facility four days and have garnered appreciation from commuters for their services.

Speaking about her decision to work as a conductor despite being M Tech qualified, Wasima said, “With no social security and livelihood option, transgender community has been struggling for their existence since long. Even if we are well qualified, we struggle to get a job according to the educational qualifications.”

“When I leant that CRUT is offering jobs to transgenders, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to earn and simultaneously pursue further education,” added Wasima.

Surmayee too has joined along with Wasima. She travels on route 12 bus. “I am extremely happy with his new role,” she said.

She is also planning to train as Mo bus driver. “I have learnt that CRUT is planning to train transgenders for e-buses. I know how to drive and I am interested in becoming an e-bus driver in Mo Bus. I hope that I will be selected in that as well,” shared Surmayee.

She also loves painting and wants to pursue her passion for creativity. “I have been painting for quite some time. It makes me happy. After eight hours of duty as Mo Bus conductor, I will devote my time to painting,” she added.

Sharing their vision, General manager, CRUT Dipti Mohapatra said, “Public transport is a male dominated sector, but CRUT has a vision to make it gender neutral with the presence of women and transgenders in public transport. We started with hiring women conductors and we have achieved a 40 per cent target. We also want to bring transgenders to public transport and thus we have included transgenders as conductors.”

CRUT is also planning to introduce e-rickshaw in Bhubaneswar. “We are also planning to introduce e-rickshaw where only women and transgenders will be included as drivers,” shared Dipti.

Stating that transgenders need to be included in the mainstream, she said, “We interacted with members from the transgender community and told them if they have requisite qualification then we can take them as driver in small vehicles or conductor, even in maintenance. We are keen to give them opportunities. Some members from the community have come forward and in future their presence will be equally noticed. Our effort is to include them as drivers as well.”

Appreciating the effort of CRUT, Mira Parida, transgender activist said, “Its good to see that CRUT is putting an effort to bring transgenders in the public transport sector. When they approached me, I tried my best to get them connected with the transgenders staying at Garima Greh who are interested to be a part of the initiative. More such efforts need to be made to bring the members from the community to mainstream society.”

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