herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Dublin Bus seek women with driving ambition

Dublin Bus Driver and Schools & Community Co-ordinator Joanne Courtney. Broadstone Bus Depot, Broadstone, Dublin
Dublin Bus Driver and Schools & Community Co-ordinator Joanne Courtney. Broadstone Bus Depot, Broadstone, Dublin
Dublin Bus Driver and Schools & Community Co-ordinator Joanne Courtney. Broadstone Bus Depot, Broadstone, Dublin

DUBLIN Bus has launched a campaign to recruit more female drivers - and has even tried to identify unemployed women who could fit the bill.

Just 77 of the transport company's 2,415 drivers are women, new figures have revealed.

Joanne Courtney (45) told the Herald she left a job as a factory worker to drive buses because she was sick of being cooped up inside. But she said she was apprehensive on her first day of driving school.

"I was thinking 'what am I doing?'. It is daunting, I mean it's 30ft long and 14ft wide - until you start driving and then it's fine," she said.

"I was standing there with a group of four guys and one girl and everyone was as daunted as each other - and the guys were just as nervous for their first drive."

WISECRASKS

She says she doesn't have to suffer wisecracks about women drivers that often.

"Sometimes you might get young kids who will make a joke of it, but if you just laugh and smile they get it and they're friendly.

"Most people get on the bus and see a woman and they just smile," she said.

Now that the transport company is looking to recruit more women, the veteran driver has words of encouragement for anyone who might be looking for work.

"What I would say to people is just go for it. I went for it and I never looked back," she said. "I find it very rewarding and I'd recommend it to anyone, man or woman.

"A lot of women might be too scared to drive a bus. Some of my friends say to me how do you do that? I say same way you do your job."

The figures on the low numbers of women driving buses was released to Sinn Fein city councillor Noeleen Reilly.

"These figures show just over 3pc of drivers are females. Women are not attracted to Dublin Bus as an employer. Why is that and what is being done about it?" she asked.

"It is a thankless job at times but Dublin Bus need to do more to ensure their workforce is a reflection of society," Cllr Reilly said.

Dublin Bus said they are aware that women are currently under-represented in their driver numbers. The company has met with the Department of Social Protection to find "suitable female candidates for bus driving positions from the live register".

Jobs resulting from this process will be fully paid and not part of a work placement initiative, according to the company.

Dublin Bus is confident they will see an uptake in women applying for jobs, a statement said.

hnews@herald.ie

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