A 46-year-old Indian woman named Farzana has become Hong Kong’s first female bus driver from an ethnic minority. Farzana, who has been driving for Citybus since September 2023, is among the company’s 200 female bus captains, and currently works the B3 series and 56 series routes. 

Farzana is no stranger to driving larger vehicles — she worked for about 10 years as a light truck driver along with her husband. However, she was inspired to become a bus driver when she saw another woman of a small build driving a double-decker bus. She applied to Citybus and after six days of training and a road test, she is now among the company’s 4,000 drivers.

Her family, which includes her 19-year-old daughter and 22-year-old son, has been very supportive of Farzana’s decision to change careers and encouraged her to pursue her dream. She even invited her daughter to be a passenger on one of the routes she was driving when she first started out as a bus captain. After the ride, Farzana’s daughter said, “Mum, I’m so proud of you!” — a memory that she treasures to this day. 

Farzana usually works the B3X between Tuen Mun Town Centre and Shenzhen Bay Port, and the 56 between Tin Ping Estate in Sheung Shui and Wo Tin Estate in Tuen Mun. And she’s struck up a relationship with regular commuters. “Many passengers, especially children, know that I know Cantonese. They will say hello to me in Cantonese, and slowly we cultivate a tacit understanding with each other. Once I was on vacation, and they asked me why they didn’t see me, so I cherish the relationship I have with the passengers,” says Farzana.

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Hong Kong is working on making workplaces in the territory more diverse by holding Inclusive Job Fairs for Ethnic Minorities, where recruiters scout applicants for positions as wait staff, bus drivers, and shop assistants, among other professions. Citybus also held its first Multicultural Job Fair and Fun Day last year to recruit non-Chinese applicants for various jobs within the company.

Header image credits: Citybus

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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