08 Mar 2021
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re taking a look at some of the shining stars keeping your local areas connected by bus.
Well known for the fleet of 200 buses and coaches seen travelling over 12 million miles every year, Stagecoach Bluebird is proud of the fact it has 22% of all driving roles filled by female staff.
Danielle Martin from Portlethen first got a glimpse in the industry when she completed some work experience in 2016. While she was still at school, Danielle gained insight to a number of different roles in the business and later joined the team in Aberdeen Travel Shop helping customers and selling bus tickets. In 2020 Danielle took the opportunity to retrain to become a Bus Driver at the age of just 19. Danielle balances driving buses in the area on a part-time basis with her studies at North East of Scotland College where she is studying Childhood Practice.
Commenting on her experience in the bus industry Danielle said: “I really enjoyed my work experience with Stagecoach and was surprised at how many different jobs there were in the company. It was great to get the chance to progress from working in the Travel Shop to train to become a bus driver, I love being out on the road and meeting different people using the bus every day.”
Fellow Driver, Nikki Shewan is also based at Aberdeen Depot and is usually seen driving a wide range of routes across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Nikki is one of the Stagecoach Bluebird Driving Mentors, providing help and guidance to newly qualified drivers, like Danielle. Nikki joined the company in 2015, originally based at Peterhead Depot.
Commenting on International Women’s Day, Nikki Shewan said: “It is great to see more and more female drivers out on the road. There are quite a few of us now in Aberdeen Depot but my advice to anyone thinking about joining the industry would be to just go for it. I think regardless of your job you’ll always see some degree of gender based bias in the world but deep down the guys here know we’re just as good on the road as they are!”
Amber Beattie, also from Aberdeen, joined the company in 2013 and has seen a noticeable change in the number of female bus drivers over those 8 years. Amber is also a Driving Mentor and enjoys shifts covering the rural Deeside route from Aberdeen to Braemar.
Commenting on the change, Amber said: “As the years go on there are definitely a lot more female bus drivers on the road now than there was back in 2013. I think there is a fairly long standing perception that men are better drivers in general (not just of buses) but I get a lot of compliments from passengers about my driving and take pride in the part I play in challenging that bias!”
Peter Knight, Managing Director at Stagecoach Bluebird said: “I’m really proud of all of our staff but do understand the importance of attracting more women to our business. We are ahead of the curve with 22% of our Driver roles filled by women but the industry as a whole still has some way to go in tackling the gender imbalance. Working in transport isn’t without its challenges, particularly during the pandemic, but having great people like Danielle, Nikki and Amber as part of the team makes each challenge easier to overcome.”
International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic and cultural achievements of women. The day takes place on Monday 8th March 2021 and also makes a call to action for acceleration in gender parity.
LtoR -- Amber Beattie, Peter Knight, Danielle Martin, Nikki Shewan.