Sam drives through the glass ceiling

Sam Bowen, Yellow Buses’ first female driving instructor in its 115-year history

For the first time in its 115-year history Yellow Buses has a female driving instructor – and it wants more to follow her.

Sam Bowen joined the Bournemouth-based company a decade ago and later became a mentor for new drivers before applying to become an instructor.

Now she is helping to drive recruitment as Yellow Buses aims to put more female drivers on its fleet.

Following three weeks of intense training and studying for eight modules, Sam was awarded her NVQ diploma as a PCV Instructor.

Now she can be seen sitting behind her charges on the Yellows Buses’ learner vehicle, putting them through their paces.

Sam, who is married to Yellow Buses Traffic Manager Dave, said: “I saw the opportunity to train as an instructor and I applied.

“I don’t think being a woman makes a difference now. I spent three weeks training in Manchester and they really make you think about it.

“There are eight modules to pass, three of which are practical. It is a challenging job but I am enjoying it.
“To teach someone to drive a bus there is a five week programme and we are getting more and more female drivers.

“I would urge women to consider bus driving as a career; the hours can be convenient and you get to meet lots of people. I have really got a great deal out of it.”

Mike Conroy, Operations Manager, said: “Sam has got there on merit and we’re all very proud of her. It’s not an easy thing to pass and she’s worked very hard.

“The industry has traditionally been male-dominated but we’ve been recruiting female drivers for years.

“Now we are seeing them working up through the company which has always been our hope.

“There are lots of job opportunities at Yellow Buses and driving roles often suit mums because of the shift patterns.”

To be a bus instructor you must be over 21 years of age and have held a full unrestricted driving licence for at least three years in the category in which you wish to instruct.

You must also meet the stringent requirements for good health and vision that are required of anyone wishing to drive a large vehicle.



Note to Editors:

For more information, please contact: Andrew Diprose, Director, Deep South Media Ltd, PR consultants to Yellow Buses, on 01202 534487. Or Ed Baker on 01202 534487 or 07788392965.


About Yellow Buses:

Yellow Buses operates a fleet of 131 buses and 18 coaches with a staff of 430. It carries just under 15m passengers a year with its vehicles operating nearly five million miles across the Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset area. Yellow Buses is part of RATP Group, the world’s fifth largest public transport provider.



RATP Dev is a RATP group subsidiary set up in 2002 to export the Group’s operation and maintenance knowhow outside the historic network operated by RATP in the Paris region. RATP Dev now operates in 15 countries on four continents (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland, Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, India, China, South Korea, the Philippines, the USA and Brazil). In 2015 RATP Dev generated revenue of more than 1.1 billion euros.


RATP group

With 14 million passengers every day worldwide, RATP group is the fifth largest urban transport operator in the world. The multimodal network operated by RATP in the Paris region, with its 14 metro lines (including two driverless lines), two regional express network (RER) lines, seven tramway lines, 350 bus lines and shuttle services catering to the region’s two international airports, is the largest of its kind in the world to be managed by a single company.


RATP group can devise, design and implement infrastructure development projects, operate and maintain networks irrespective of the transport mode (metro, regional train, tramway and bus) and develop innovative services to promote mobility such as passenger information, electronic ticketing, pricing and customer marketing. The automation of Paris metro’s Line 1, which was completed at the end of 2012, is a world first and once again has demonstrated the ability of RATP group to complete particularly complex projects.


RATP group has a workforce of nearly 60,000 worldwide and in 2015 generated revenue of 5,556 million euros.