September 20, 2023

Lobzang’s journey: A pioneering female bus driver takes over roads in Bhutan

Though Bhutan’s city bus service was established in the late 1990s, the country’s first female bus drivers didn’t start operating their vehicles until last year, Bhutan Live reported. One of seven ladies who undertook a demanding eight-month training programme to hone their driving abilities is Lobzang.

After serving the city as a bus conductor for seven years, Lobzang lost her job when the smart card system was implemented. She had a long way to go, though. As a temporary stand-in for male bus drivers, she now drives with grace and accuracy through the bustling streets of Thimphu.

Her sure hands gently manoeuvre the bus out of the parking lot and onto the wide road that leads to the bus station as the engine hums to life.”Lobthru Gi Shogjang,” the system announces as the pupils scan their smart cards. She smiles amiably and extends a warm welcome to each passenger. Her journey starts around 7:30 a.m., carrying her first group of passengers–students heading to their morning classes, Bhutan Live reported. Lobzang prioritizes safety above all else, regularly checking on her passengers and maintaining strict adherence to road safety regulations.

According to Bhutan Live, Lobzang reflects, recalling her early days as a bus driver, “When I first started driving, people were sceptical. They would say, ‘I don’t want to get on this bus because the driver is a woman.’ However, as time passed, their doubts faded and they began to trust us.” Lobzang, the pioneering female bus driver of Bhutan, combines her duties as a mother of two and the family’s breadwinner with her professional commitments, according to Bhutan Live. (ANI)