Industry supports Women in Bus and Coach

Described as the first national network to support women in the bus and coach industry, Women in Bus and Coach is now active.

A launch event for the initiative in Birmingham saw representatives from across the industry gather to celebrate and encourage women and allies working in the sector across the whole of the UK. The national launch follows on from the success of the London launch of the network earlier this year at an event hosted by TfL.

The ‘Women in Bus and Coach’ initiative will work with operators, manufacturers, community associations and other key stakeholders in the bus and coach industry to effect real change that will encourage, represent and support more women to work in the bus and coach industry at every level. The initiative is intended to help deliver bus and coach services that better meet the needs of women.

The initiative is made up of industry leads and will provide a collaborative forum to share expertise and develop solutions to make sure a career in the bus and coach industry is attractive to women of all ages, backgrounds and ethnicities.

Women in Bus and Coach will also work with bus and coach companies to challenge and eliminate barriers currently faced by women in the profession, creating what is described as a more inclusive service that is representative of customers. The group wants women, whatever their background, to have equal access to a career in the industry and a workplace designed around their needs.

At the launch of Women in Bus and Coach, key stakeholders signed up to the Charter – agreeing to challenge industry policies and practices that do not adequately support women, and to set, review, and publish targets for women in all roles throughout the industry.

Industry support

Louise Cheeseman, Director of Buses at TfL and Chair of Women in Bus and Coach, said: “The bus and coach industries provide incredible opportunities for a varied, challenging and rewarding career. All women should have equal access to these opportunities and a workplace designed around their needs. We’ve made significant progress in recent years in recruiting more women into the industry, and I can’t wait to continue working with stakeholders to launch this charter and achieve both a professional environment and culture, and a bus and coach service that work for women.”

Emma Ward CBE, Director General, Roads and Local, DfT, said: “It is great to see this initiative being launched and supported by so many in the sector. It is clear the enormous benefits and opportunities of making the bus and coach sector more diverse, and welcoming new perspectives and ideas that better reflect the diversity of bus and coach users. Government is supporting this ambition through the Bus Centre of Excellence, which plays a pivotal role in sharing best practice on areas such as recruitment and retention to enable the sector to be seen as a career option for all. A thriving and inclusive sector benefits everyone, helping to deliver excellent bus and coach services to passengers across the country.”

Sarah Boyd, Managing Director of Lothian Buses, said: “Working in transport offers a really exciting and varied career path for women. Fostering a culture change that is more inclusive of women attracts, retains, and empowers female talent. Improving the representation and visibility of women working across bus and coach will help to promote diversity and gender parity and showcase our industry as a forward thinking, rewarding career opportunity.”

Andy Lord, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “Women in Bus and Coach is a fantastic example of how we are collaborating with colleagues and organisations beyond TfL in the delivery of genuine improvements to make the places we work inclusive and diverse”.

Lorna Murphy, Operations and HR Director at Abellio London, said: “An inclusive industry that genuinely represents the communities it serves is vital to the future of bus and coach in the UK. This industry can offer rewarding career opportunities to women and will, in turn, benefit from a growth in diversity.

“Abellio is proud to stand with the Women in Bus and Coach initiative to challenge the barriers that women face and work collaboratively to build a more inclusive industry.”

Janette Bell, Managing Director First Bus, said: “Traditionally, women have been hugely under-represented in the transport industry but I’m happy to say that’s changing, thanks in part to the work we are doing to address the gender imbalance within our own company. The positive action we’re taking is beginning to make a difference, but we recognise that there is still more to do, and ‘Women in Bus and Coach’ is a great example of how the industry can support progress in this area. At First Bus we’re on a journey to a place where everyone is welcome, can be their true selves and succeed.”

Dawson Group Managing Director, Paul Sainthouse, said: “Dawson group recognises both the moral and commercial advantages of having diversity of participant and of thought, within every aspect of the organisation. ‘Women in Bus and Coach’ will be a key partner of our EDI Strategic Plan, under which we will continue to ensure our organisation, and its supply chain, delivers on our commitment to gender equality, fairness and opportunity for all, and the creation of a business environment that allows people from every part of our society to achieve their true potential.”

Ashraf Fawzi, Managing Director of MCV Bus and Coach, said: “In the diverse landscape of the bus and coach industry, every gender plays a vital role in steering progress. Embracing gender diversity isn’t just a choice; it’s the engine that powers innovation, understanding, and equality. When men and women collaborate, bringing their unique perspectives and strengths to the table, we pave highways of opportunity and foster a vibrant industry that moves forward. Women prove that they don’t just fit in; they stand out!”

Marcos Hart, Managing Director Arriva London, said: “In London we have one of the most diverse populations in the world and our people play a key role in keeping the capital moving. We are proud that our people reflect the communities we serve, however we also recognise that we need to do more to make the bus industry a more attractive career choice for women. Working with ‘Women in Bus and Coach’ and the wider industry, it is important that we all continue to challenge and remove perceived barriers faced by women and help create an inclusive environment where everyone feels that they can be themselves and succeed in their role.

Ed Wills, Managing Director, Brighton & Hove and Metrobus, said: “To better reflect the communities we serve, we need more women in our business. Employing more women in the bus and coach industry leads to increased diversity and makes for a more inclusive working environment for everyone.”

Domenico Bondi, MD of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, said: “At Volvo, we are on a journey to foster a gender-balanced culture, where grace and strength live side by side. we create equitable leadership development opportunities and strive for 35-50% of each gender in all our teams. Encouraging more women to join the bus and coach industry is a vital step towards our ambition and the industry’s progress moving forward. We are extremely excited to be one of the founding members of Women in Bus and Coach, together we draw our strength from our wealth of diversity.” 

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