Prema Ramappa Nadapatti was a nurse, but she quit her hob in 2009, and had no clue of the unique distinction that was awaiting her in future. She tried many job opportunities but didn’t succeed. Succumbing to the financial pressure, she applied to Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC). She along with six more women were selected, but the others preferred to work as conductors, giving Prema the unique title of becoming Bangalore’s first female bus driver.
Prema is 35 years old, and hails from a village near Belgaum. After her husband passed away, she had to step out of her house to provide for her aging mother and 11-year-old son. “Even if it means night duty, it’s alright,” she told the Economic Times. Currently, her shifts are between 6 AM – 2 PM or 2 PM – 10 PM, but she often works extra hours. “I am committed to my profession and don’t mind if I have to work till 1 AM,” she adds.
Holding a ‘no accident’ record, Prema hopes she’ll drive the airport buses someday. And though it’s often considered unsafe for women to be working odd shifts at odd hours, Prema has not faced a single problem of abuse or harassment till date. On the contrary, the male bus drivers and passengers are exceptionally courteous to her. In an interview with the Hindu, Prema said, “The other traffic always gives me side”, allowing her to go first.
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