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Expect lady bus drivers in Metro Manila in March –-MMDA

MANILA, Feb. 27 — If everything goes as planned, the first batch of lady bus drivers can be seen in Metro Manila streets after their graduation in March, according to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino said.

“Maybe, by the first week of March, we can see them (lady bus drivers) driving on the streets,” Tolentino said, adding that the group has undergone seminars and trainings on defensive driving and traffic rules and regulations conducted by the agency and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

“Actually, they are overqualified because some of them are holders of a foreign driver’s license as they were recently working in countries like Kuwait and Bahrain,” he said. Others are registered nurses and electrical engineers.

They have been culled from the initial 32 lady drivers who submitted their resumes to the MMDA since the agency opened the application last month.

But the MMDA chief admitted that despite their qualifications, low salaries may greet the first batch of lady drivers as they will be under the same salary scheme or the “boundary” system imposed by bus firms on their drivers.

Tolentino said that while the MMDA has considered giving the female drivers a minimum monthly salary, the male drivers may protest such “discrimination."

The “boundary” system, where the take-home pay of a bus driver is based on the number of passengers he gets, is cited as among the causes of overspeeding and other dangerous driving practices resulting to accidents, sometimes fatal, as drivers have to compete with one another in getting more passengers.

The MMDA is pushing for the hiring of lady drivers by bus companies, citing studies and figures here and abroad showing they are safer drivers compared to their male counterparts.

MMDA statistics showed that last year, 9,526 male drivers were seriously injured in road accidents compared to 3,605 for female drivers, while 260 male and 60 female drivers were killed in the same period.

To encourage bus firms to hire lady drivers, the MMDA said it is willing to grant them incentives such as exemption from the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or the number-coding scheme for their units driven by lady drivers.

The number-coding scheme covering buses was re-implemented in Metro Manila in November last year. (PNA)

scs/CLTC

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