Funeral director turned bus driver James McGee is one of the first to feature to demonstrate that bus driving can be an attractive option as a second career. Mr McGee joined Thames Travel in 2018 after 13 years working in the funeral sector. The Marcham resident also works as a control room operator at the low-carbon Didcot depot and is responsible for the smooth running of bus services.
Thames Travel has expanded its services across south Oxfordshire to improve connectivity for passengers between Oxford City, the South Oxfordshire Market Towns, new housing developments, rail stations and business hubs. It includes the new X36 service providing links between Didcot and new housing developments in Wantage and Grove.
Improved services providing connectivity to Milton Park and Culham Science centre have also been launched. A variety of shift patterns to accommodate differing lifestyles are available with drivers working 40-hour weeks and the pay rate is as much as £17.21 per hour.
“Since changing careers, I haven’t looked back,” said Mr McGee. “I was provided with full training upon joining and work now fits around my lifestyle. During the pandemic, my role has been essential to people requiring a smooth, safe and reliable transport service to essential destinations.
“As a sole controller based at our operational hub in Didcot, my day-to-day role is not dissimilar to that of an air traffic controller – just on a smaller scale and with buses not aeroplanes. It’s about providing passengers with the best possible service through instinctive problem-solving and good communication skills.”
His colleague Joyce Pickett has been driving on Oxfordshire’s roads for more than 30 years after starting her career as a bus driver in 1990. The Wolvercote resident joined Thames Travel in August 2020 and now covers routes in central and south Oxfordshire.
She said: “Working with Thames Travel is great; I’ve got a fantastic mix of city and countryside driving which I love. Everyone at Thames Travel gets along well, there is a great team spirit and feeling of working for each other rather than independently. If you are considering a change of roles or would like to start your career, I would recommend joining the team. Working through the pandemic and transporting people to their COVID-19 jabs has been particularly rewarding.”
Phil Southall, Thames Travel Managing Director, said: “After a challenging year for the transport sector, it is fantastic to be in a position where we are actively recruiting drivers. Our investment in expanding our services in central and south Oxfordshire has created the new job opportunities. Our increased services have improved connectivity which is vital for the economic recovery of the county.”
Thames Travel is the sister company of Oxford bus Company. It employs 150 staff and has a fleet of more than 60 vehicles, including 40 ultra-low emission models, operating in south Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Training is provided and over-time is available. Benefits include free bus travel for immediate family. To find out more please visit: www.thames-travel.co.uk/about-us/vacancies/refer-a-friend or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.