Watch: West Midlands bus drivers unveil their favourite routes & best thing about their jobs
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West Midlands bus drivers have spoken about their favourite routes and what they love about their job.
The bus drivers who work for National Express West Midlands - which operates 93% of the West Midlands bus network - have unveiled their preferred routes as the company celebrated their 130 Master Drivers and 15 Elite Drivers.
The company’s award-winning Master Driver programme recognises excellence in driving, measuring the performance of drivers and identifying those with an impeccable safety record and outstanding driving and customer service skills.
Master Drivers must have achieved a grade A on their National Express West Midlands’ driver profile, 100% in their most recent driving evaluation, completed the Institute of Advanced Motorists course, and have a clear record.
This year the company introduced a new tier called Elite Drivers, celebrating those Master Drivers who demonstrate high performance year after year. With 17 years of dedicated service, Danielle Weekes recently became the company’s first-ever female Elite Driver.
Danielle’s journey is testament to her hard work, positive work ethic, and unwavering commitment to keep developing her skills. And not only that, but she’s been tackling gender stereotypes along the way too.
In the early stages of her career, Danielle says she faced sceptics who questioned her capabilities as a female bus driver. Recalling those moments, she said:"Passengers would approach me and doubt my abilities, questioning if I knew what I was doing."
Remaining calm and composed, drawing strength from her training and the knowledge that she had successfully passed the required tests, Danielle took it all in her stride and has since expressed a profound sense of satisfaction at achieving Elite Driver status: "Being able to prove people wrong brings me great joy. Looking back at those situations and receiving Elite Driver status makes me truly believe I have done just that. My mum is my biggest supporter, and she is immensely proud of how far I’ve come in my career."
What are the bus drivers favourite routes and best thing about their jobs?
For Nathan, who works at the Acocks Green Garage, the No. 11 Outer Circle is his favourite route. He has worked at the company for more than four years and has been recognised as a Master Driver as part of the company’s award-winning Master Driver programme recognising excellence in driving and other areas.
Nathan said: “The best thing about being a bus driver is that you get to meet so many new people every day. No day is the same, especially when I drive the 11 on most days and you get to see so many different sights around the city.”
Other drivers from Birmingham and the West Midlands were also honoured for their hard work. Another Master Driver from Birmingham, Paul Tittsden, shared he has worked for the company for almost 23 years. He currently works at the Acocks Green Garage.
He revealed that the “best thing about being a bus driver was getting the passengers from A to B” as safely as possible.
Shaz Smith, who works at Wolverhampton Park Lane Garage, said the number three bus in Wolverhampton is her favourite. She has been honoured with the title of Master Driver and has worked at the company for over 16 years. For her the best thing about her job is
Meanwhile, Peter Listrop, a driver from Wolverhampton as well, said his favourite route was the Wolverhampton to Walsall 529. He has worked for the company for 36 years. He said: “You get to know certain people that you meet every day and they become friends.” Previously we asked our readers what their favourite bus routes were and you can read the responses here.