BENGALURU: In a city notorious for its traffic jams and heavy traffic, a woman driving a BMTC bus is something that anyone would least expect. Meet Prema Ramappa, the only bus driver in the state, who steers a BMTC bus with ease in Bengaluru’s nightmarish traffic.
Hailing from Byaranahatti village in Gokak taluk of Belagavi, Prema Ramappa aspired to join the police force. Just two years after marriage, she lost her husband. With a two-month-old child, she went through very difficult times. Having to raise her son, she initially worked in a private hospital. But she was determined to get a government job and applied with the BMTC for a conductor’s job.
Prema already had a four-wheeler licence and later on underwent training to drive a heavy vehicle. Commuters are awed on seeing her drive a bus and they speak to her with respect, she says.
“Since mine was a love marriage, I was left to fend for myself after I lost my husband. My mother suggested that I put my son in a government school so that his midday meal is taken care of and I find myself a job. My sister is a nurse and three of my elder brothers are in the military”, she said.
Prema, who has compelted her BA course, learnt to drive a four-wheeler when she was working in the a hospital. She recalls driving the bus around the city with her one-year-old son by her side. “Earlier, I was a bit tense, but now I’ve got used to driving in heavy traffic. The job is challenging, but I have to do it for a living. I have already put in 12 years and I have 14 more years of service left”, she says.
Interestingly, she has no accidents against her name. “The entire BMTC staff has been supportive and I hope to continue giving my best”, she says as she steps on the gas for another trip.