Mumbai: 24-year-old engineer trains to be the first woman to drive a BEST bus
In India, driving a heavy vehicle is still considered a man’s job. However, 24-year-old Pratiksha Das is all set to change the notion by becoming the first woman to drive a BEST bus in Mumbai. She holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Thakur College, Malad and has trained in the BEST school of Mumbai to learn to maneuver a BEST bus.
Expressing her passion for heavy vehicles she said, “It is something I’ve wanted to master for the last six years. But my love for heavy vehicles is not new”.
“I started off with bikes, then larger cars and now, I can drive buses and trucks. And yes it feels good. After completing my engineering degree, I was planning to become an RTO officer. For that, I needed a license in heavy vehicles as it is compulsory. Since I had wanted to learn to drive a bus, it was perfect.”
Getting into the job was not easy for her. Since it is a male-dominated job, Pratiksha received comments like “Yeh ladki chala paayegi ke Nahi?” from her colleagues.
Some of the people also commented on her height who doubted her ability to control such a large vehicle.
Also, the riders in her bus often get surprised to see her driving and keep staring her.
However, to tackle such public, she completely ignores them and goes on silently with her job of driving. Initially, she also faced problems while turning the bus or changing lanes but she mastered the skills in no time and she now regularly drives the bus.
However, they came around when Pratiksha completed the test successfully.
On the second day, she drove a bus for 16 km on the Eastern Express Highway. While driving, Pratiksha was subjected to stares from people, but she remained undeterred.
“People use to stop and turn when they saw a young woman behind the steering wheel. Keeping my focus clear, I ignored the stares,”.Pratiksha Das
Pratiksha proved everyone wrong with the ease with which she drove the bus. She went on to say that women who set their mind on something can make anything possible, it’s all about will and determination.
She stated, “I dreamt and here I am. In fact, anyone can achieve their goals, they just have to set their minds to it.”
The brave driver now plans on a bike trip to Ladakh. She said, “It’s every biker’s delight to ride that route. It’ a mixed group and guess what, a lady is going to lead the gang!”