Female tram drivers on rails in Anatolian city

Female tram drivers on rails in Anatolian city

ESKİŞEHİR - Anatolia News Agency
Female tram drivers on rails in Anatolian city

Out of 60 tram drivers in Eskişehir, 12 are women and they are successful on the job as long as they are well trained. The city’s population are pleased with them, according to officials.

Female tram drivers working on the light rail system in the central Anatolian province of Eskişehir have caught the attention of many with their top-notch performance. Eskişehir has 12 female tram drivers, all of whom have proved to be just as successful and talented as their male coworkers.

Eskişehir Light Rail System Operation, 31-year-old Fatma Bostan, has been working her job for nine years and is one of the early tram drivers in Eskişehir. A graduate of the Ankara University Engineering Department, Bostan said she had no idea what a tram driver was before she began working in the profession. After graduating from university and getting married Bostan was on the hunt for a job.

“A paper asking ‘Are you interested in being a tram driver?’ was sent from the Turkish Employment Agency, İŞKUR, and I went for an interview. They taught me what a tram driver did. I passed the related exams for tram driving and then I started this job. Earlier, I was a driving instructor. I used to teach women to drive, but tram driving is easier than driving a car. I am happy and proud of being a tram driver, it is a decent job. The most important point is that we are trusted with the lives of people, which brings responsibility. Your gender does not matter while you are doing this profession. I can do everything a male driver could do. Women shouldn’t be afraid of anything. They could do everything if they wish. I’m pursuing both my career and taking care of my children,” Bostan said.

‘I can drive a tram as well as the male drivers’

Bostan operates the tram six days a week and said she drives 300 to 400 passengers in one go.
“There is a generalization [in our society]. Everybody thinks female drivers cannot drive well nor are careful enough. But I can’t see any relation between gender and driving. I can drive a tram as well as the male drivers.”

Much of the public is appreciative and supportive of female tram drivers, Bostan said, recalling an interaction between her and a tram passenger.

“I don’t have the chance to look in the mirror while driving the tram. I can only look in the rearview window, but at the stations I sometimes look in the [glass of the] speedometer to see my reflection and freshen up. I have always a book with me to read at break time. One day, I arrived at a station and there were only three minutes until departure and I was at probably the most exciting part of the book. One of the passengers knocked on the window and asked ‘What are you doing, girl?’ I replied ‘I’m reading.’ She went on saying ‘You read even at your break time? I am going to give you a present, a bookmark which I make my earning from. Please don’t stop reading,’ she said. I can’t forget this present ever,” Bostan said.

Another female tram driver, Öznur Mutlu, said began driving trams nine years ago. “I got married after starting my career. I take care of my house, children and work my job at the same time. When traffic is congested, [vehicle] drivers and [tram] passengers get angry with us. But we have to mutually respect each other to avoid problems from appearing.”

Demet Özaslan became a tram driver after completing a three-month training program and exams. “Our profession has so many difficulties that it requires your complete attention. We don’t work off-line, but in traffic. We love our jobs,” she said. Erhan Enbatan, head of the Eskişehir Tram Line said that average number of passengers was 100,000 per day. According to Enbatan, 12 out of 60 tram drivers are women and the company has realized that female tram drivers are successful on the job as long as they are trained well.

“We have never received any complaints about female tram drivers from the people of Eskişehir,” he said.