HYDERABAD: At 34, Umtul Hamida is energetic enough to drive through the roads of Hyderabad from 10 am till midnight.
Meet this She Cab driver, who’s posted at the airport and ferries female passengers to their destinations be it rain or late evening. Her face is framed in a white lace scarf and matches with the pink kurta that she teams up with embroidered shalwar as she drives and speaks with us.
She’s been driving the cab for the past six years. Says this mother of a nine-year-old girl, “I was selected among the 50 women by RTA for this job. I feel quite proud that I have been doing this for years.”
On being asked if she’s been treated differently because she’s the only woman driver of She Cabs from the minority community she replies, “No. It’s not happened. All the lady passengers have been really kind to me.” But what about the male taxi drivers at the airport? She smiles and shares, “They were a bit hesitant initially but took their own time to accept me.”
She learnt driving at her father’s house. Says this resident of Hyderguda, “My father owned an Esteem and I learnt driving from the chauffeur. After I got married, this skill helped me sail through financial difficulties.” Back then she used to take her infant child along with her rides. However, she’s not willing to let her daughter choose this profession.
“I am not sure if she’ll get similar support when she has her own family. Her first passenger was a journalist who interviewed Umtul for an audio-visual media platform. On average, she gets seven to eight passengers on a daily basis. The bookings are done at the pre-paid taxi booth at the RGIA premises.
All seems well with her but she says that the government needs to do more for she can drivers.
“They have been supportive but we need more backing in terms of finance, policies etc. It will be great if we are appointed for government transport as the same will offer us assurance of our careers,” says she adding that the lockdown had affected their work severely given airports were closed and all the flights were on hold.