Industry marks International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and the bus and coach industry has marked the occasion.

Go-Ahead has released figures showing the number of women drivers at its UK-wide network of bus companies has risen by 20% in a year following a wide range of efforts to attract more applicants. Overall, female representation among Go-Ahead’s 11,000 workforce of drivers has risen from 10% to 12% in 2022.

Go-Ahead employs 15,600 people in the UK bus industry.

Efforts to hire more women bus drivers have included:

  • Female-focused advertising including a campaign called ‘we’re hiring people like you’ by Go North West in Manchester and a ‘heroes of the road’ campaign at East Yorkshire Buses
  • A program to build the foundations of culture change across the group which focuses on growing inclusion as a way we do things
  • A bus driver apprenticeship scheme pioneered at Go-Ahead London
  • Salaries of £26,000 to £40,000 per year depending on region and experience

Claire Mahoney, Head of Colleague Experience at The Go-Ahead Group, said: “Driving a bus is a valuable and rewarding role, providing a vital everyday service up and down Britain.

We want our workforce to reflect the communities we serve, which means a better balance of men and women behind the wheel. I’m pleased that we’re getting more women on board – we’re moving in the right direction but there’s much further to go yet.”

To mark International Womens’ Day today, Go-Ahead has released a video focusing on ‘women returners’ who have come back to the workforce after maternity leave, examining their experience as they re-adapt to working in an office or depot.

Shelley’s pride

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Carousel Buses driver, Shelley Townsend, has spoken of her pride in working in the bus industry.

“It is great to see an increasing number of women working in the bus industry and there are so many opportunities available” – Shelley Townsend

Following ten years on the road as PCV driver, Shelley is now the controller of Carousel Buses’ demand responsive transport service PickMeUp in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

She said: “The bus and coach sector are a wonderful industry and I love every minute of it.

“It’s so rewarding, I enjoy the interaction with people, especially passengers and colleagues. It’s nice to know we make a difference to people and help them get out and about.

“Additionally, it is interesting and challenging work and there is the opportunity to add value to the company.

“It is great to see an increasing number of women working in the bus industry and there are so many opportunities available. Put simply, there are no barriers to doing what you want to do.”

Shelley was previously a bus driver at Reading Buses and an Operations Duty Controller at Stewarts Coaches.

Wonderful Women Bus Drivers

National Express West Midlands has chosen International Women’s Day to launch a new children’s book aimed at encouraging women and young girls to consider a role in bus driving.

‘The Wonderful Women Bus Drivers of the West Midlands’ is aimed at children aged three- to seven-years-old and explores the female colleagues at National Express West Midlands and their important roles in the local community.

Set across Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country, National express describes the book as a ‘colourful, heartwarming tale of women bus drivers and colleagues – Diane, Saba, Leona, Joanne, Lynne and Sharon – coming together in their quest to help save the annual family fun day’.

Written and funded by National Express West Midlands, ‘The Wonderful Women Bus Drivers of the West Midlands’ will initially be shared internally but if anyone is interested in buying a copy, with proceeds going to the charitable National Express Foundation, email [email protected].

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