It’s vital that the transport industry recognises the unique contribution women have to make and that we promote and celebrate diversity at all levels, so I am delighted to be involved in the Women in Bus Event.
Bus Users in Scotland works closely with passengers, Scottish Government, the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland, local authorities, Regional Transport Partnerships, bus operators and NGOs to ensure passengers have access to high quality and inclusive bus services. The purpose of my role as Bus Compliance Officer is to monitor services for punctuality, reliability, accessibility and convenience, and to assess the customer service standards of all front line staff.
Compliance Officers monitor everything from the politeness of drivers to the condition of bus stops and everything in between. Each day is different which makes the job incredibly interesting and unlike anything I have done before. As a carer for people with additional support needs I was a frequent bus user. When out travelling I would see, first-hand, how a kind word from the driver or the bus arriving on time could have a really positive impact on the people I supported. Of course, the effect was just as profound if a driver was rude or unhelpful, or a service was unreliable, leading to missed appointments and derailed plans. When I saw the job advertised for a Compliance Officer with Bus Users in Scotland I knew I could bring a unique perspective to the role as a frequent bus user, a carer and a woman.
We are fortunate to have a diverse team at Bus Users UK with our Chief Executive, Director for England and half of our Board of Trustees women. I find it inspiring to see so many women in such senior positions and they have been a great support to me in my own role. When I’m out and about at events and launches it’s also encouraging to see women increasingly represented at all levels of the transport industry which has traditionally been, and remains, largely male dominated.
Women can offer a very different perspective to men and, given that they make over a third more bus journeys, their insight is vitally important. This is particularly the case when it comes to understanding their experiences when travelling alone, or with young children or older relatives as is often the case, and addressing their concerns over safety. For bus companies seeking to provide safe, accessible and inclusive services, involving women is the most effective way to achieve this.
It’s essential that the voices of women are heard and that we celebrate their contribution so they feel valued and appreciated. This will encourage even more women to join the sector and by increasing their representation in the workplace, we can improve our understanding of their experiences and create services that help them to feel safe and confident when travelling.
Scottish Bus Week is a great way to celebrate public transport and the vital role it has to play in reducing congestion on our roads and improving air quality in our towns and cities. Passengers have been slow to return to buses since the pandemic and this campaign is an opportunity to re-build confidence and encourage new and existing passengers on board. It’s also an opportunity for those of us fortunate enough to work in this industry to share experiences and to learn from one another to improve bus services for all passengers in Scotland.
About Bus Users
Bus Users UK is a charity that campaigns for inclusive, accessible transport. We are the only approved Alternative Dispute Resolution Body for the bus and coach industry and the designated body for handling complaints under the Passenger Rights in Bus and Coach Legislation. We are also part of the Sustainable Transport Alliance, a group working to promote the benefits of public, shared and active travel.
Alongside our complaints work we investigate and monitor services and work with operators and transport providers to improve services for everyone. We run events, carry out research, respond to consultations, speak at government select committees and take part in industry events to make sure the voice of the passenger is heard.