FlixBus drivers encourage more women to the industry
The Cambridge-based drivers are calling for more women to join the industry during Catch the Bus Month
Catch the Bus Month (September 2023) is not only being used to get more passengers onboard buses and coaches, but women drivers too. FlixBus coach drivers from Cambridge are calling for more women to apply for driving jobs during this year’s event.
Whippet Coaches, based in Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, has been in partnership with FlixBus for two years. Its drivers are sharing their experiences to encourage more women to try the career, as the most recent study from the Office for National Statistics found only 11% of the UK’s coach and bus drivers are women, while only 20% of the transport industry are female.
Malgorzata Cieslinska-Skrzypczak, known to her colleagues as Meg, is 50 years old and originally from Poland.
She has been driving FlixBus coaches for five years and has worked for FlixBus’ partner Whippet Coaches in Cambridge since 2021. She says she loves travelling and experiencing new places.
“It’s seen as a male-orientated job, but I want women to know that it’s never too late to get a licence!” – Malgorzata Cieslinska-Skrzypczak
Meg said: “It’s seen as a male-orientated job, but I want women to know that it’s never too late to get a licence! I started after my children flew the nest, and it’s been such a privilege to get out on the road and meet new people.
“What’s fantastic about driving for our partner, FlixBus, is that you get tickets to travel for free on their global network during your time off. I love to travel in my spare time – I’m going to Paris on FlixBus with some friends I’ve made here at work for Christmas, and I can’t wait!”
International coach driver Liubove Simpson is also an advocate for more women to try driving, and says the best thing about the job is the freedom.
“You have to love driving, but once you’ve trained, it’s easy to drive a coach” – Liubove Simpson
Liubove added: “You have to love driving, but once you’ve trained, it’s easy to drive a coach. One thing you realise about this job is that people will go off to try other things, but they are always drawn back to driving because they miss it so much!”
Married to James, also a coach driver, the couple says the company schedules their shifts to ensure they get quality time together with their 13-year-old son Alexander.
“The office window is constantly changing, and you get to meet so many different people,” James said.
Passionate and award winning
Team Lead of Operations at FlixBus, Hayley Russell, having won two industry awards in 2022, is a passionate advocate of women in transport.
“Women can offer a different perspective and understanding about passenger experience” – Team Lead of Operations at FlixBus, Hayley Russell
She said: “We love to hear the positive stories from Whippet drivers like Meg and Liubove, who both get fantastic feedback from our customers, which shows the importance of women in the driving seat.
“Women can offer a different perspective and understanding about passenger experience, which is great for ensuring journeys feel safe and inclusive for everyone.”
Ascendal’s Group Head of Marketing, Nicoletta Gennaro, who is the first-ever recipient of the MOVE 2023 Women in Mobility Award, believes women add tremendous value to the industry.
“We need to empower women to seek careers in transport, so they too realise how fulfilling this industry is” – Ascendal’s Group Head of Marketing, Nicoletta Gennaro
She said: “Transport has been a male-dominated industry for decades, and that has to change. We need to empower women to seek careers in transport, so they too realise how fulfilling this industry is, and how much impact we can have with our daily work.
“We must make change happen, and I’m certain that more female involvement in transport will only enrich the service we are able to provide for our passengers. I make myself available to anyone that’s interested in exploring career opportunities in the mobility sector.”