The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Road Passenger Transport Industry heralded the national launch of the Women in Bus and Coach initiative at an event in the House of Commons on 20 November.
The initiative represents the first national network dedicated to supporting women across the coach and bus industry in the UK. The partnership aims to foster real change by encouraging more women to join and thrive in the coach, bus, and community transport industry at every level.
The event at the House of Commons gathered senior industry leaders, MPs, and political figures from various parties. They heard from members and supporters of the initiative, discussing collaborative efforts with operators, manufacturers, and community associations.
The event was also marked by the display of a specially wrapped bus. The double-decker will briefly serve Londoners on route 94, passing Marble Arch, Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus.
Louise Cheeseman, Director of Buses at Transport for London and Chair of Women in Bus and Coach, says: “The coach, bus, and community transport industries offer varied, challenging, and rewarding careers. All women should have equal access to these opportunities and a workplace designed around their needs.
“Today’s event was a unique opportunity to both gain cross party support for the Women in Bus and Coach initiative and showcase how we’ve made significant progress in recent years in recruiting more women into the industry.
“We still have a lot of work to do to challenge and eliminate barriers currently faced by women in the profession; I can’t wait to continue working with the coach and bus sector to achieve both a professional environment and culture, and a coach and bus service that works for a wealth of diversity- we are better together.”
The initiative, comprising industry leads, will provide a forum for sharing expertise and developing solutions to attract women of all ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. It also seeks to work with companies to challenge and eliminate barriers, creating a service representative of customers.
A key milestone was the signing of the Charter at the initiative’s launch in Birmingham on 8 November. Signatories committed to challenging policies and practices hindering women’s support in the industry and setting, reviewing, and publishing targets for women in all roles.