Making the move to Dublin Bus | Season 2 – Episode 1
Wheels Feb 15, 2022
What is commonplace these days was not always the case in Ireland.
For several years Barbara Shanahan had run a social media and marketing business from home serving many clients in the hospitality sector. When the pandemic struck, her business was hit hard as most of her clients were in the hospitality business and for a period of time she found herself out of work.
Barbara wanted to get back to doing something and it seemed like a good time to go in a different direction. Then one day she saw the latest Dublin Bus recruitment campaign on a passing bus looking for female drivers.
She thought it looked like fun and attended the open day in Phibsborough depot, and that was the start of her journey to a new career as a driver with the Dublin Bus company.
Operating from 8 depots with a fleet of 1,016 (2019) vehicles running on diesel and hybrid technology the state-owned Dublin Bus operates 120 urban bus service routes across Ireland’s capital city.
Her driver training took place at the Phibsborough depot training school. Lasting 7 weeks the course began with 3 weeks of classroom-based tuition to prepare for the driving test followed by driving around the depot yard, before progressing to city streets in a big red learners’ bus with the instructor seated in a special seat located in the middle of the floor towards the front of the bus.
Then onto to night driving and ‘vigil vanguard’, where you’re video recorded driving and assessed afterwards. According to Barbara; “They don’t let you out unless you’re absolutely competent and able. The training is excellent.”
The requirements for drivers beginning CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) bus training with Dublin Bus are that they hold a valid B license with no endorsements. Their training continues when they go on to obtain a category D (CPC bus) driving licence.
Once a driver has obtained a category D (CPC bus) licence they must then apply for their driver CPC card. Bus drivers cannot drive professionally until they get this card. All four CPC tests must be passed:
- Driver theory test
- Case study test
- Practical driving test
- Walkaround test
What is seemingly commonplace in 2022 was not always the case and there were a number of women in the history of Irish transport who were the first in their field:
- Kate Tyrrell who in 1886 was the first Irish woman to be a ship’s sea captain and her ship was the first to fly the new Irish tricolour flag at a foreign port.
- Gráinne Cronin in 1977 was the first woman to become a pilot for Aer Lingus and the first woman pilot commercially employed in Ireland
- Joan Doran who in 1980 was the first female Dublin Bus driver on a scheduled route since World War II
- Teresa Carey became Ireland’s first female train driver with Iarnrod Eireann (Irish Rail) in 2002
- Nicole Drought who in 2016 became the first woman to win in the Irish Touring Car Championship
- Rosemary Smith who won the ladies’ prize in the 1964 Rally Circuit of Ireland and in 2017 became the oldest person to drive an 800hp F1 car
Women make up less than 6% of drivers in the state-owned Dublin Bus company, despite recent campaigns aimed at boosting their numbers, out of a total of 2,716 drivers, the service currently has 148 female drivers.
Dublin Bus are recruiting now. Details on their website Dublinbus.ie
Credit & Photos: Dublin Bus, Iarnrod Eireann, Evoke Irish Central History
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