Local community the driving force
Porirua resident Daphne Tou has gone from New Zealand indoor netball representative to stay at home mother to a career in bus driving – and she is loving every minute of it.
Daphne is a self-professed social butterfly and says she needs to be in a role where she has the opportunity to talk to people and socialise.
“I was looking through social media on my phone and I saw an ad from Metlink wanting more bus drivers. Then I saw the ad again on TV – it seemed to be popping up everywhere. I took it as a sign and decided I would give bus driving a go.”
Daphne says she was nervous the first time she drove a bus due to the sheer size of the vehicle but she grew up with an interest in trucks so she was excited to try her hand at it.
“I was a bit of a tomboy growing up; I always wanted to drive trucks. Now I’m driving double decker buses and I love it.”
Her favourite route is the number 25 which runs from Khandallah to Highbury across a windy, hilly area.
“I like the challenge of driving around narrow roads and over the hills, I have also got to know the people on this route. For me it’s all about interacting with my customers and my community. Some of them bring me a coffee or muffin because they appreciate that I get to know them.”
Daphne says working from the bus depot in Grenada is like being at home because it is such a family-oriented environment. “This is the main thing that makes me come to work each day – to see my work family. They also encourage me to further in the company – now I’m doing some operational work too.”
Greater Wellington Regional Council public transport committee chair Barbara Donaldson says it’s nice to see communities getting to know their local bus drivers.
“As many people will be aware, there has been a nation-wide shortage of bus drivers so it’s great to see local drivers being appreciated by the community. Maybe this will encourage more people to try it out as a career choice.”