March 28 2024

2024's  Women's History Month, recognises women who are committed to equity, diversity and inclusion.  As a business, Transport UK, London Bus is proud of the women who drive us forward.
The contributions of women at every level of our business make us more able to serve our local communities and our customers. We're proud of the difference that they are making and know that they are the very best advert for a career in the bus industry.
To mark Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we are celebrating some of the brilliant women of Transport UK London Bus.

Who are you, where do you work and what do you do?

I’m Gemma Crockford, a Safety Trainer in our
new Safety School, working across all our depots. I’m also a
relief CPC Trainer and Corporate Induction Facilitator. And I’ve
held a number of other roles over the years including Driver,
Embedding Hello London Facilitator, Relief Driver Support
Supervisor and, for another company, Training Manager and
Acting Depot Manager.

How did you get to where you are today?
I started my career in the London Bus Industry back in the
early/mid 1990’s as a conductress and eventually progressed
to driver and have performed many roles in the industry
including at one time Acting Depot Manager and Training Manager (including ‘designing’ a training package for one company). I have driven buses and coaches in other places in the UK as well, including Cornwall, Oxfordshire, South Yorkshire and even up as far as Scotland. Eventually I returned to London in 2017 and began driving for Abellio London Bus (now Transport UK London Bus).

I have worked my way up through the roles of Conductress, Driver, Driver Support Supervisor, Hello London Facilitator, Driver Trainer and now Safety Trainer. It has been a long career of almost 32 years and 17.5 of those years have been as an Instructor/Trainer.

Did you experience any challenges getting to where you are today?
Yes – my self-confidence initially was extremely poor, and I had to work on it a lot to have the confidence to stand up in front of a classroom full of 30 people and conduct a training class to a high standard.

How did you overcome these challenges?
I had to take a step back from myself and believe that I could achieve my goal.

What do you love about the bus sector?
The industry is very diverse with different cultures and people, which is something I love to learn about.

The job is varied and there are many opportunities for development and promotion if you are prepared to put in the effort. You get to help people and watch them progress into professional drivers. The best thing in the world is seeing a trainee driver walk in after their PCV driving test with a pass certificate in their hand!

The Managers and Supervisors are also there to assist staff if we need it, and the industry as a whole is an important part of London’s Infrastructure.

What does a typical day look like?
Arrive early at the required Depot and get all the presentations ready for the candidates on my courses. Classroom sessions last about 2 hours and then after a quick break for the candidates and time formyself to organise a bus to use we then go out on the road and do some driving. The role is a support role for the drivers so first I watch how they drive normally and then we stop and discuss any improvements required. Then we drive some more, putting into practice the suggested improvements.

Back at the depot after driving we go over any concerns highlighted and emphasise the necessity for safety on the road and behind the wheel for the Professional Driver. Finally, the candidates leave and then it is time for me to do my administration and filing. That’s just the Safety Training part! It would take too long to list everything I can do in this industry!

What advice would you give to women thinking about a career in the bus sector?
Very simple – Do It! It’s a rewarding and flexible career.

What has been your career highlight in bus so far?
Having the late actor Steven Lewis and actor Anna Karen riding on my bus (an old Routemaster Long Body) as part of the On The Buses Fan Club Day in Borehamwood. Steven played Inspector Blake and Anna played Olive in the Television Series.

Also, the day I passed my PCV Instructors course in 2006.

If you would like to join the Transport UK London Bus team, please see our latest vacancies.