A new initiative for supporting women in the coach and bus sectors has been launched across the UK at an event in Birmingham
The first national network to support women in the coach and bus industry launched at an event in Birmingham on Wednesday 8 November. Representatives from across the sector came together to celebrate the launch of the network, which celebrates and encourages women and allies working in the bus and coach industry across the UK. The national event follows on from the success of the London launch of the network earlier this year at an event hosted by Transport for London (TfL).
The Women in Bus & Coach initiative aims to 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, and in doing so will help to deliver bus and coach services that better meet the needs of women. The initiative is made up of industry leads and seeks to 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 & Coach will also work with bus and coach companies to challenge and eliminate barriers currently faced by women in the profession, creating a more inclusive service that is representative of its customers. It 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 & Coach, key stakeholders signed up to the network’s 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.
Louise Cheeseman, Director of Buses at TfL and Chair of Women in Bus & 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 for Roads and Local at the Department for Transport commented: “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, added: “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.”