The profession of bus driving is still battling with prejudices. Driving one is seen as a typically male activity. The cliché “Danger! Woman driver ahead” is still too often heard. At Keolis, strong women prove the opposite. The male drivers also believe that women are just as professional as they are.
With a 15% share, women are clearly in the minority. We asked our drivers why that is the case.
Laura, a bus driver for 5 years, is sometimes told that women are less daring: “Passengers ask me how I dare to drive such a large bus, but it’s not more for a woman than a man.” Petra, a bus driver for 19 years, puts it this way: “Some people tell me they wouldn’t dare or couldn’t do it.” “But why not?" I answer. "You were able to learn to ride your bike. Then you also learned to drive your car. I learned to drive a bus...so can you!”
So Petra and Laura are convinced that anyone can learn to drive a bus... it just takes a bit of courage.
Prejudices were even more commonplace in the past. “In the last century, it was thought that bus driving was a male profession,” says Armand, a bus driver of 17 years. “It’s better now, but in the past it was much harder to prove yourself. Fortunately, the situation is improving. The profession used to be a real male bastion. Women behind the wheel are more accepted today.”
Although Armand and his male colleagues no longer see women at the wheel as a something unusual, female employees sometimes still receive comments.
Sara, who’s been driving a bus driver for a few months now, thought she couldn't do it because people around her told her that she wouldn't be able to drive a car. "People have a prejudice about young people, and especially about young women like me: they think we can't drive a bus," she explains. "You should see their faces when we show them we can!”
Ingrid and Kathleen, who’ve been driving 12 and 13 years respectively, are also happy with their choice of profession: “I hesitated to learn it, but I persevered,” says Ingrid. “And I’m glad I did, because I really like it.” Kathleen says: “I’m lucky enough to be doing something I like. I hope to be able to continue working as a bus driver for a number of years.”
These three women, along with the other women at Keolis, prove that bus driving is also a female profession. Men are also convinced of this!
“Bus driving is a profession that men and women can perform equally well. Everyone can be equally friendly, everyone can learn to drive well, and everyone can steer a bus perfectly," says Jan, 13 years a bus driver.
With a healthy dose of courage, belief in yourself, and the right driving licence, everyone can be a good bus driver!
Is bus driving a male profession? We didn’t think so!