RapidKL's female bus drivers meet daily challenges head-on

Female bus drivers only makes up 2.6% of the driving force in RapidKL.

THE SIGHT of a woman bus driver is still relatively new in Malaysia, as even in a big city like Kuala Lumpur, intercity bus operator RapidKL, which has almost 3,000 drivers in its fleet, has only 60 female bus drivers.

One of the 60, bus captain Noor Sufiana Mustafa Maarof, 24, said she has had many memorable experiences since joining RapidKL a year ago.

“One thing I love about the job is that I get to meet a lot of people every day,” she said.

Sufiana starts her day at 5am and every morning, she will have to ensure that the bus is in good condition and safe for the journey.

Her route is from Bangsar to Pasar Seni and depending on the shift, she would finish work at either 3pm or 8pm.

“The job is a bit tiring with the traffic, but at the end of the day, I usually still have time for my family and friends,” said Sufiana.

She had been helping her parents sell kuih before joining the RapidKL team.

Sufiana said more women should join as bus captains as passengers feel more comfortable with female drivers.

Meanwhile, fellow driver Juhana Md Jaafar, 44, said the first two years of driving a bus were the toughest.

“It is a challenging job and I do not only drive the bus. I am responsible for the passengers’ lives as well. I have also learnt to deal with irate and drunk passengers,” she said.

Juhana added that there were times when she felt like giving up but she had to toughen up to care for her family.

“Thankfully, my children understand the nature of my work. I am usually unable prepare breakfast for them, but I will be home in time for dinner,” said Juhana, who has been driving a RapidKL bus for six years.

She shared one of her most memorable experiences — when the bus broke down on her first day of work.

“I was nervous and did not know what to do. However, I have learnt the hard way,” she said.

Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Zohari Sulaiman said RapidKL had been facing a shortage of drivers or “bus captains” over the past 10 years.

“In order to reach the 15-minute interval bus service goal, RapidKL has to hire 500 drivers and we are always open to hiring, especially for women,” he said during the Women Drivers Career Seminar with RapidKL in Putrajaya recently.

Zohari added that walk-in interview sessions were held every day at the main Rapid Bus depots in the Klang Valley.

“All one needs to have to apply for the job is a class D licence and a minimum qualification of PMR. If needed, we will help you to obtain class E and Public Service Vehicles (PSV) licences,” he said.

RapidKL will also provide training at the Bus Academy in the Balakong Rapid Bus depot.

“One of the facilities that we have is the bus simulator to help drivers strengthen their skills and prepare for any challenges on the road,” said Zohari.

He added that a bus captain could earn up to RM3,200 and above a month.

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Women , RapidKL , Women drivers


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