On Dec. 1, Lucknow became the first city to launch its metro trials with two women train operators at the helm. Pratibha Sharma and Prachi Sharma of Allahabad were in the driver’s seat.
The decision was made by the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) to give more visibility to women drivers. When 97 positions opened for train operators in LMRC, about 19% of the applications received were from women. LMRC ended up hiring 21 women in line with the UP government’s 20% reservation policy for women in government jobs.
Barring Chennai, other Indian cities with metro systems employ less than 3% women train operators.
“We have chosen two women operators to drive the Metro train before the CM and public for the first time. Our women train operators are so confident and excited to drive it that they wished to take lead in the trials. They have undergone rigorous training, both at the Centre of Excellence of LMRC and hands-on training at the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation,” LMRC Managing Director Kumar Keshav told Times of India.
Pratibha has a degree in electronics and communication engineering while Prachi has completed a diploma in electrical engineering. They joined LMRC as station controller-cum-train operators in June.
“I don’t know how to express my happiness in words,” the visibly ecstatic Prachi said to a Zee News reporter. “We are very proud that we are driving Lucknow’s first metro.”
The two women drove the four-coach train on a 6 km stretch covering six stations. The trial run started from Transport Nagar Metro Depot and ended at the Charbagh Railway Station in Lucknow.