My mum was a bus driver. Yours (or any woman you know) could be too. | HerCanberra

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My mum was a bus driver. Yours (or any woman you know) could be too.

A woman wearing a Transport Canberra uniform stands on a Canberra street.

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Looking for a career change that has a level of flexibility and can fit around your lifestyle? Becoming a Transport Canberra bus driver could be just the opportunity you’re looking for.

Growing up in a small country town, my mum was a Jack—or, rather, Jill—of all trades. Corner store assistant, cleaner, playgroup wrangler—you name it, she probably did it. But my favourite of all her jobs was school bus driver (and that’s a big call, given the easy access to mixed lollies and ice cream at Danny’s Store).

I loved that every afternoon after school we’d pile on to the bus and Mum would be at the wheel. Now, feminism wasn’t a word in my primary school vocabulary, but I remember feeling a sense of pride that my mum was one of the few female drivers. I loved watching her chat happily with the other kids during the drive, and also loved that once everyone was dropped off safely, my sister and I would have the bus—and then Mum—to ourselves as we headed home for the evening.

Many things have changed in the 40 years since Mum drove buses—but the flexibility that attracted her to a job as a bus driver hasn’t.

It’s something that Transport Canberra bus driver Kylie loves about the job. Coming from a challenging medical background with crazy shift patterns and physical demands, she’s found her role to be more compatible with family and lifestyle.

“I had a position in the medical field that came with a really heavy responsibility, and I was burnt out,” says Kylie. “I’ve got young twins and Transport Canberra really tries to be as family-friendly as they can.”

But it’s also about job satisfaction—Kylie is driven to connect with her community, and her three years working as a bus driver has filled that need.

“I feel like I’m part of something that’s bigger than me—I love the ‘giving back to my community’ aspect of my job.

“We also get to drive around one of the most beautiful cities in the world every day—we get that view every day while we get people where they’re going. I think it’s like the best job in the world for me.”

That’s not to say that Kylie didn’t second guess her decision to switch careers when she first slipped into the driver’s seat of a Transport Canberra bus.

“To be honest I thought, ‘what have I done here? I have never driven a large vehicle in my life!’, she laughs.

“But the training is fantastic and it’s comprehensive. Is it a responsibility? Yes. But it’s exciting, and it’s challenging, and it’s something new, and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

That training Kylie talks about is four weeks of fully paid instruction in everything from systems to customer service, incorporating elements of theory and practical—because the job is about much more than driving a bus. It’s vital that drivers feel comfortable and confident before getting on the road—and the training doesn’t stop there.

“There’s driver continuity training just to make sure that we’re still on the mark. Great fun!” laughs Kylie.

A woman in a Transport Canberra uniform talks to a colleague in front of a blue bus.

Transport Canberra drivers value the sense of community.

As women, it’s natural to be anxious about personal safety in any career that sees you working alone in the field. But Kylie says Transport Canberra’s Communication Centre Radio Team and Field Transport Officers (TO’s) at the interchanges have always had her back.

“In the three years I’ve been here, there’s only been one incident where I had a moment where I felt unsafe, but I had the Communication Centre with me and then the Transport Officers with me very quickly, and the issue was sorted. And I was safe.”

That sense of community is something that Transport Canberra drivers really value—from the special driver-to-driver wave to the depots (complete with meal locker and gym facilities) that act as social gathering areas between shifts.

Camaraderie aside, the bottom line is benefits, and Kylie says there are lots of them.

“I mean, it’s a government position. It’s permanent once you’ve passed your probation. And honestly, the money is a big drawcard.”

And that may be the biggest difference between Transport Canberra’s female bus drivers and those in my mum’s generation—it’s a job that is taken seriously, with serious training and serious pay. And it’s becoming more and more attractive to women.

“There’s quite a lot of us now and it’s really nice to see particularly younger women coming through as well, that will be with the organisation for a really long time,” says Kylie.

“Just get out there. Give it a try. It’s fantastic!”.

Sound like the career change you’re looking for?

Transport Canberra has casual and part-time positions available, including shifts on weekends and public holidays.

  • This role is suitable for people looking to make some extra money on weekends, looking for a career change or have always wondered what it would be like to cruise the streets of Canberra and meet new people all while getting paid.
  • Make this role work for you. A level of flexibility on work times, full training, bright blue uniform provided and a supportive team ready to welcome you on board.
  • You must have strong communication skills, fantastic personal presentation and a great driving record.
  • You must love working with people—and the pay is great! Qualified casual drivers can earn around $50 an hour*! *including 25% hourly casual loading.

If you’re looking for a job that will take you places, start your application today. Visit transport.act.gov.au to find out more.

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