City’s first woman bike-taxi driver takes streets by storm
City-girl Preet has broken the proverbial glass ceiling by becoming the first woman bike-taxi driver in Ludhiana. Driving taxis, let alone riding bike-taxis, was believed to be a male bastion for the longest time and is still considered to be a daring profession for a woman.
It was a news report regarding a woman driving a taxi in Jalandhar that first planted the seed of becoming a cabdriver in Preet’s mind, who was determined to hold a regular job in order to become ‘independent’.
“I applied at the Rapido office in Haibowal two weeks ago and the operators accepted my applications right away. Since then, it has been a smooth ride,” says the 37-year-old mother.
Ask her if she had second thoughts about ferrying strangers around the city, an intrepid Preet says, “I was not afraid of joining the profession. After all, there are men are in every trade. You can either sit at home or go out and take a chance.”
She admits that she is still unfamiliar with the routes but she makes up for it by being a pro at making her way through traffic congestion in the industrial hub.
“I have been riding two-wheelers for many years now. I never thought it will become my profession one day. At present, I take a rides around Model Town, Pakhowal Road and Field Gunj as I am familiar with the area. I will start taking rides in other areas once I get accustomed to the work,” said Preet, who lives with her 75-year-old mother Ranjeet Kaur in a rented accommodation in Phase 2, Dugri. Her 21-year-old daughter, Neelam, is pursuing a BA degree.
Before she joined the bike service, Preet worked as a medical attendant and took care of patients in their homes: “I worked as a medical attendant for around ten years. Though the pay was almost the same as what I make by riding the bike-taxi, it was not a regular job. Besides, I had to stay at patients’ homes so it was not a very safe.”
Preet, who plans to continue working with the a bike service until some other lucrative option opens up, says she is quite taken aback by the support that she received from people.
“I’m happy with this work as I earn around ₹500 to ₹800 a day. I have given both male and female passengers a ride and have never faced any problem. All customers have been supportive and respectful towards me,” she said.
Encouraging women to join the trade, Preet said, “I have always believed that if you continue to remain afraid of the unknown, you can never do anything. I encourage other women who are struggling to find a job to make their two-wheelers a means to earn a living.”