Mumbai: 24-year-old engineer trains to be first woman to drive a BEST bus

Updated: Jul 16, 2019, 18:10 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Pratiksha Das just completed her mechanical engineering degree from Thakur College in Malad and has trained in BEST training school of Mumbai

Pic courtesy/Twitter/Yash Mehta
Pic courtesy/Twitter/Yash Mehta

Heavy four-wheelers like trucks and buses have thought to be domain meant only for men but this Mumbai girl proved it wrong! Pratiksha Das is probably the only woman in the city, who can navigate her way through pothole-filled roads on a BEST public bus. The 24-year-old just completed her mechanical engineering degree from Thakur College in Malad and has trained in the BEST school of Mumbai to learn to manoeuvre a BEST bus. 

Speaking with, BEST Chief PRO Hanumanth Gophane said, "Pratiksha has trained at the BEST school on how to drive a BEST bus, but she is not employed with us. We offer training in driving to any person who wishes to learn."

Also Read: Meet 3 women who are training to become Mumbai's first auto rickshaw drivers

Expressing her passion for heavy vehicles she stated, "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."

Pratiksha Das recollected her first training drill with BEST drivers who were all doubtful about her driving skill. She said that people hurled remarks at her like 'Yeh ladki Chala Paaygi Ke Nahi?’, to some even mocking her height stating she was too short to ride a bus. According to the Times of India, talking about the challenges she faced as a driver, she stated, "People use to stop and turn when they saw a young woman behind the staring wheel. Keeping my focus clear, I ignored the stares." Besides this, changing lanes and turning was pretty challenging for her, but she managed to acquire the requisite skills in no time.

Pratiksha Das proved everyone wrong with the ease with which she drove the bus. She even said that women who set their mind on something can achieve anything they desire, 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!"

Also Read: Watch video: Female bus driver saves lost baby crying, running barefoot

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Correction: In the earlier version of this article we had incorrectly mentioned that engineer Pratiksha Das was the first woman driver in BEST. We got in touch with BEST Chief CPRO Hanumanth Gophane to check the facts and learned that Pratiksha has trained at the BEST school to learn how to drive a BEST bus, but she is not employed with BEST. Accordingly, we made the necessary correction in the article and also added the BEST CPRO's official quote

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