Leading From The Front
It is an incredibly steep terrain for a woman to walk the trek in the capacity of a leader. Women will hear thousands of ‘no’s,’ especially as they break glass ceilings and smash every stereotype in the book. What separates the success stories is that they keep going in the face of adversity and not throwing in the towel. What keeps these women so committed?
At SUBURB, we break the stereotypes; instead of celebrating one day as a Women’s Day, here we believe, ‘if you respect her truly, every day is a Women’s Day.’ Saluting the women who are exceptionally strong, we highlight the journey of trials, triumphs and learnings of Sonal Goel, the young dynamic CEO of GMCBL (Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited).
She is the CEO of Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus Limited (GMCBL), the woman on a mission to make the city bus service in Gurugram worthy of a mention. She joined the male-dominated department
with a conviction to bring about a positive change in the city transport system.
To head one of the most important organisations of the city is no mean feat. Sonal Goel who took charge as CEO of GMCBL on January 3rd 2020, is a young IAS officer of 2008 batch and the 13th rank holder in civil service exams. Dedicated to further enhancing GMCBL’s services to make Gurugram a Smart City on the move, Sonal comes with all essentials know-hows and degrees. She graduated from SRCC and also moved on to do her CS. She is a lawyer, Masters in Public Policy and recognized by Niti Ayog as Top 25 Women Transforming India. The CEO on the move, a social media geek, sassy and wise, Sonal, has it all in her.
“Gururgram Metropolitan City Bus Limited is a SPV formed by the government of Haryana, supported by Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, HSIIDC and urban local bodies. The organization started its operations in September 2018.
Gurugram is a cosmopolitan city with a significant chunk of the working population which needs a safe and organised public transport system. Initially, our ridership was a little over one lakh, but as of December 2019, figures show a considerable spurt in ridership with over 21 lakh people using the city bus services. The positive response of the citizens has been quite encouraging, and we are committed to reaching out to more people. With a fleet of 154 buses plying on 19 routes, the bus service connects some of the major hubs across the city offering Gurugram a secure, convenient and economical medium of transport,’’ says Sonal.
Enhanced Bus Features & Services
The 36-seater brand new GMCBL buses are technologically equipped and modernly designed buses that offer a comfortable experience to the riders.
“Our buses are environment-friendly and run on CNG. They are low floor buses to offer ease to senior passengers who board the bus. The buses also have a ramp and are wheelchair friendly to cater to the specially-abled people with a physical impairment to board and exit the bus without any difficulty. We have ear-marked seats in the coaches for the elderly, children and ladies. The ride is free for children up to 12 years of age.”
To ensure maximum safety at all times, all the buses are under CCTV vigilance. “Cameras act as a deterrent for miscreants and are of utmost importance for our women passengers.’’ Helpline numbers are prominently displayed in the buses to reach out for help during an emergency.
Getting feedback is the best way to improve, feels Sonal. The internal team of GMCBL does random checks on the buses and also encourages passengers to share their experience on the website of the organisation. Experience of the rider is a top priority for her as a CEO who also monitors the social media handles of the organization.
The conductors or the Customer Service Agents (CSA) as GMCBL likes to call them, undergo various training modules, and soft skills coaching to help them further perform their duties better. All buses have First Aid Kits to address basic medical requirements. There are dedicated routes for women passengers which primarily cater to girls’ colleges. GMCBL also has inducted women CSAs in their team and are keen to expand their workforce of women. The last mile connectivity is a problem in the city. “We are also working on last-mile connectivity to further facilitate better transport facilities and enable passengers to reach their final destination safely,’’ says Sonal.
Smart Card & Gurugaman App
GMCBL is committed to offering value for money transport medium to Gurgaon. The fare slabs are Rs. 10 for up to 10 bus stops, Rs 20 for beyond 10 to 20 stops and Rs 30 for all stops beyond that.
Just like metro, GMCBL has issued Smart Cards to provide a hassle-free and convenient mode of payment for passengers. The passenger gets a discount of Rs 2 on every ride when he pays through a Smart Card.
“The card is issued free, and one only has to pay for the recharge amount. We have kiosks at different points in the city, including HUDA City Centre for distribution of smart cards.”Sonal Goel
An IAS from 2008 batch, she joined in Tripura Cadre and has held various significant positions, before joining Haryana cadre in July 2016. A dynamic government officer, Sonal has many awards and recognitions to her credit.
She has been featured in Top 25 Women transforming India by Niti Aayog, United Nations and MyGov in September 2016. Understanding the power of social media as a powerful tool of communication, Sonal was also felicitated as part of 30 ‘Web Wonder Women’ from Ministry of Women & Child Development Government of India, Twitter India & Breakthrough India in March 2019 for impacting society through social media, being the only IAS officer in the list.
Among other prestigious felicitations, she is also the recipient of the National Award by Ministry of Women & Child Development on ‘National Girl Child Day’ in the category ‘Enabling Girl Child Education’ in January 2019; ‘Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation in Governance Awards’ 2019 from Hon’ble Vice Chairman NITI Aayog at Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Summit (Feb 2019) and led the delegation on ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ with the Hon’ble President of India in 2018 as DC Jhajjar.
“Women have been silently shouldering many such unaccounted responsibilities without which humanity would cease to exist; should we not ensure Gender Parity from Core of our hearts?
A mother of two young children, Sonal has learned the balancing act. “I do what I love and love what I do.” A TEDx Speaker, Sonal with a warm smile says, “I have a great support system at home in my parents and husband Aditya Yadav who has been a pillar of support to me. This helps me balance both work and home in the best possible manner. Through each professional role and duty, I aspire to contribute towards the betterment of the nation and society at large.’’