If you’re visiting London and are touring the city on its iconic double decker buses, chances are high that the bus might be driven by this lady from Assam. Say ‘Hello’ to Sheetal Lama Rai from Assam, who has been working for Metroline West company under Transport in London for the past nine years driving on the 83 route.
How she ended up as a bus driver in London?
Rai hailing from Dima Hasao district, Assam, became fascinated by the iconic red double decker buses when she came to the UK for the first time. Thus began her love affair with the bus, as she decided on becoming a bus driver for one of these red buses. However breaking even in this male dominated industry ain’t easy. Luckily she got selected and after undergoing some tests she got her bus driver’s license. Today she is one of the five females among the 400 male drivers employed by the Metroline in West London Garage.
Best thing about her job
Being a bus driver in London doesn’t come easy. Rai starts by waking up at 3:00 am in the morning. She works on the early roster shift and finishes her work by mid-day. However occasionally she works overtime too. The driver states the best part of her job she gets to meet a lot of people. Many of them are regular passengers and overtime they become an extended family. She says sometimes passengers offer her chocolates, coffee and gum etc out of courtesy.
However there are several downsides too. There have been several instances wherein she had to argue with passengers mostly on tickets issue. Another downside is heavy traffic, which becomes even worse when it rains and or during snowy days. Driving conditions are tougher then.
How she spends her leisure time?
During her leisure time, she loves spending time in the gym, cycling and also likes to learn new things through her iPad. She is also contemplating going to go back to college and complete her education from where she had quit many years ago.
She also visits her native Assam atleast twice a year to spend time with her loved ones. Sheetal is also actively associated with a Not-For-Profit organisation called AROH (A Ray of Hope) that works for the underprivileged children, students, and elderly destitutes. She also runs a private school in Patacharkuchi, Assam.