1st batch of female bus drivers to undergo skills test-A A +A
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
THE first batch of 23 female bus drivers will undergo an assessment of their skills on Wednesday, after completing a road safety training program.
The training program was administered by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Center for Automotive Technology Corporation (CATC), the training arm of the Philippine Automotive Federation Incorporated.
The whole-day affair to be held at the Mall of Asia (MOA) complex in Pasay City is designed to gauge what the female bus drivers have learned in training, Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva said.
The Tesda will conduct the assessment on the lady bus drivers.
"The assessment, which will run for two hours and 10 minutes for each driver, will include written and performance tests," Villanueva said.
The assessment phase is the last test female drivers will have to hurdle before completing the training program.
They were culled from the initial 32 that have submitted their resumes to the MMDA since the agency opened the application last month.
Earlier, MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino expressed confidence that female bus drivers will hit the streets of Metro Manila by the first week of March.
But the MMDA chief admitted that despite their qualifications, low salaries may greet the first batch of lady drivers as they will be placed under the same salary scheme or the "boundary" system imposed by bus firms on their drivers.
Tolentino admitted that while the MMDA considered giving the female drivers a minimum monthly salary, the male drivers may protest such "discrimination."
The "boundary" system - an arrangement in which drivers are paid a percentage of the number of passengers they carry - is cited as among the causes of over speeding and other dangerous driving practices resulting in sometimes fatal accidents.
The MMDA is pushing for the hiring of lady drivers by bus companies, citing studies made here and abroad showing they are safer drivers compared to their male counterparts.
Tolentino earlier cited "scientific studies" in other countries such as the United States though he did not specify the studies indicating that women were less aggressive behind the wheel, more law-abiding, and more concerned about their vehicles' conditions.
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, MMDA statistics showed.
To encourage bus firms to hire female drivers, the MMDA said it is willing to grant them incentives such as exemption from the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program or the number-coding scheme for their units driven by lady drivers.
The number-coding scheme covering buses was re-implemented November last year, prompting bus operators to launch a strike that stranded thousands of commuters in various parts of the metropolis.
Bus owners later denied staging a strike adding that what happened was a "miscommunication" with their drivers. (AH/Sunnex)