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Metrobus launches campaign for more women bus drivers

On the day UK companies publish their gender pay gap reports, Metrobus and Brighton & Hove Buses’ Women Behind the Wheel campaign is encouraging more women to become bus drivers.

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The Metrobus recruitment and open day at the company’s Crawley depot in May gives women the chance to get into the driver’s cab and to get the lowdown on what it’s really like to be a bus driver from some of the women who drive Metrobus’ buses, with a similar event happening in Brighton in May.

Apprentice Engineer, Kylie Griffiths.

Assistant Operations Manager Kirstie Bull began as a driver at Brighton & Hove Buses in 1998.

“Some women have the idea that it’s a big vehicle and they can’t drive it. I don’t know where that comes from because you can drive it,” she says. 

“It’s a fantastic experience, I love it. The vantage point that you’ve got over other road users is great. Once you’ve cracked the size and the length, you’re in control. You can see everything that’s going on from behind the wheel.” 

Kirstie has worked all around the business as a driver; mentor; supervisor and scheduler, as well as in customer services and finance. She also shadowed assistant operations managers at Go-Ahead London before becoming one back in Brighton. 

“Our focus is bringing more women into the industry. We’re up and coming for women. We’re doing more to attract them and to keep them,” she says.

Kirstie was appointed Assistant Operations Manager at Lewes Road depot last year and adds:

“Once I stepped on to the ladder it all happened very quickly.” 

Metrobus’ and Brighton & Hove Buses’ current driver recruitment campaign can be seen on buses and posters around the city. The campaign aims to show that drivers come from all different kinds of backgrounds and bring different talents, like ultra-marathon running, scuba diving or drumming. 

The company wants to recruit more women in all areas of the business, not just driving buses. 

Kylie Griffiths is coming to the end of her three-year engineering apprenticeship at the company’s Conway Street depot in Hove. She’s also just been nominated for the Everywoman in Transport and Logistics’ UK Apprentice of the Year Award. 

Kylie says:

“It’s a very good company. I fit in fine with everybody, even though I’m quite quiet. I always have someone at work to support me and they’re always very keen to help me progress.” 

She says her college teachers hold up Metrobusand Brighton & Hove Buses as examples to other students of a good company to work for.  

“The company has supported me from the word go. It’s a really good group of people.” 

Kylie is a diversity champion on the company’s employee-led Diversity and Inclusion group, which aims to boost the representation of women, LGBT+, BAME and disabled colleagues.  

Metrobus’ Managing Director Martin Harris says: “We’ve set a target for women to make up at least 20% of our colleagues by 2021 and we’ll keep going once we hit it.  

“We’ve already had success attracting more women as drivers, apprentices and managers. We’ve also brought in family friendly policies, like flexible working, shared parental leave and time off for family emergencies. 

“Our internal culture is changing, partly thanks to our Diversity and Inclusion group and the Dignity and Respect campaign we run jointly with UNITE across all our depots, which promotes positive behavioural change.” 


Metrobus’ parent company, the Go-Ahead Group, released its Gender Pay Gap Report today (Thursday).  

The report shows the median pay gap at Brighton & Hove Buses, which Metrobus is part of, is 2.4%, much lower than the 17.9% national average. The mean pay gap is 6.3% at Brighton & Hove Buses, significantly lower than the national average of 17.2%. 

Business

‘no longer commercially viable’ – LloydsPharmacy to close in Tilgate, Crawley

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Image: Google Streetview

It could be seen as another victim of the High Street but this time it appears that local communities are now going to start to feel the bite of national chain closures.

McKesson UK, the owners of LloydsParmacy sent a statement outlining how they have been making commercial decisions buy and sell pharmacies.

In a statement the firm said that the decision was made due to an increase in financial pressures and also cited COVID-19 as one of the reasons.

It is not clear when the pharmacy will close although there is speculation it could happen as soon as October with rent leases not being renewed.

McKesson added that they aimed to either retain or redeploy staff as much as they could acoss other stores.

But as the shopping landscape continues to be devastated with closures, the impact of a vital local resource disappearing could affect residents harder than most.

A spokesperson for McKesson said:

“Good business practice requires us to regularly review our estate and make appropriate commercial decisions including buying and selling pharmacies. 

These decisions need to be made because of changing market dynamics and increasing financial pressures including the impact of COVID-19, business rates and changes to pharmacy funding.

We are proposing to close a small number of community pharmacies that are no longer commercially viable for us to operate and we are currently consulting with impacted colleagues about those changes. We always prioritise care of our colleagues through any change.

Where there are closures, our aim will be to retain and redeploy as many of our talented colleagues as possible to other vacancies that exist.”

Tilgate Cllr and Mayor of Crawley Francis Guidera said:

“We only found out this morning from a resident. I have spent much of today trying to found out if it was true and if it could be prevented.

It appears Lloyds have already made up their minds to the detriment of our community.

We can only hope that another pharmacy seizes the opportunity to take their place.”

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