Moving from a retail assistant job to a position as a bus driver, Sarah explains how it is for her to drive for Newport Bus.
Tell us first why you decided to drive for Newport Bus?
“I had been working in a shop for a while then and I was looking for something different from retail. I enjoy meeting and helping people, but I needed variety. I didn’t like being stuck in one place. Driving a bus gave me this. I’m at different places through the shift and I meet different people every day. Many of my friends and family thought it was a strange idea as they felt it was no place for a woman and the buses are so big. But driving buses is easier than I thought once we had training and seeing other women who have driven buses for many years gave me the confidence to say bus driving is for me. I joined the company in November 2018.”
How was the recruitment process?
“The recruitment process was quick and efficient. I applied and within a week I was able to get onto a training course. After the first training session, I loved it. Everyone at Newport Bus was so welcoming and happy to have me in the team. The other drivers were as good as gold and supportive. It really boosted my confidence.
When I passed, the reaction was unbelievable. Everyone was so proud of me. I’m only 29 and some people don’t see it as a job for a young woman. I was so proud of myself for breaking down these stereotypes.
I spent the first few weeks learning the theory, the routes and the different CPC modules. All the tests were paid for by Newport Transport and I was also being paid while I trained, which is invaluable. It saved me worrying about money while working for my exam. The training generally takes about 5-6 weeks, but it’s different for everyone.”
What are you driving?
I’ve been driving service buses, minibuses and private hire around the Newport area and Bristol. At first, it seems worrying and scary, but it really is like driving a car, even if they are a little bit longer. I actually find the double-deck buses nicer to drive. The arrival of the electric buses was exciting. They are so smooth and quiet to drive. It’s also very good that the company is going greener.It’s nice to meet lots of people. You also create a relationship with the regular customers. The job is safe and simple as we don’t handle cash at all. I enjoy greeting people as they board the bus as hopefully, I give them a friendly and cheerful face to start their day.
What is it like to work for Newport Bus?
As I’m a mum of two, I find the varied shift patterns helpful for me as it gives me flexibility. As my children grow up, I feel that there are opportunities to change and I can grow with the business. There are also women in Senior Management Roles withing Newport Transport such as Helen our Operations Manager and Sophie our Marketing and Communications Manager, which shows me that Newport Transport is somewhere I can develop a career and build on my skills as a bus driver.”
Newport Transport have become like a family. I’ve formed great relationships with my co-workers, developed my team building and communication skills. I’ve got 35 years to work and I can’t see myself changing. People think bus driving is lonely, but we really are a team. Many drivers have worked at Newport Transport for a long time, which I find especially useful when they give advice and tips on routes. “