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  • Tanya Popova

Our Bus Staff Appreciation Campaign has transformed Hammersmith Bus Station for a month

The last few months have been full of exciting preparations around the creative campaign developed in partnership with TfL which aims to increase appreciation towards bus staff. We wanted to celebrate that valuable but sometimes invisible link between bus staff and passengers - their human side, who they are as people like us outside of their work on the bus network.

We spent months talking to bus drivers and station controllers (we got to speak to more than 40 people!) and we heard amazing stories - when they are not behind the wheel or at the bus station, one can find them spending time with their kids and grandkids, teaching them how to do boxing or how to take creative pictures, how to do gardening or bake. Others told us about their passion for helping the community - playing instruments in the local church or cooking for community events. That includes helping not only UK communities - one story included travelling to Ukraine and using buses as ambulances to provide aid to those in need. We were amazed by the colourfulness of the lives of those who keep us moving around London (we sometimes wondered how many hours in the day they have!). After driving thousands of miles, bus drivers take on their own journeys and we wanted to spotlight these in our campaign.

The campaign features 7 stories that have been converted into posters which you can see at Hammersmith Bus Station until May 5th (right above Broadway shopping centre). The stories of Shana, Eddie, Jorge, Cesibel, Azad, Ed and Nick were so inspiring that we decided posters would not be enough to bring their stories to life. So you can read more about them and watch their stories here.

Our campaign launch event

The culmination of the appreciation campaign was a celebratory event that we hosted at Hammersmith Bus Station last Wednesday, April 5th. We saw drivers, bus operators, controllers, managers and senior officers come together to celebrate the everyday efforts of bus staff. It was a wholehearted event where passersby got the chance to meet their drivers in real life and see them in a new light. As one passenger put it “you’re the driver from the poster! I bake with my grandchildren too. I’m glad to see you’re getting the recognition you deserve”.

Louise Cheeseman, Director of Bus at TfL, praised local bus staff as being “the heart of our communities” and the crucial role they play in communities - “if I didn’t show up for work tomorrow, I can honestly say none of the passengers would notice, if our drivers didn’t show up 100s of Londoners would be impacted. They might miss school, hospital appointments and work. Drivers play a crucial role in getting people where they need to be”.

This campaign was part of our Essential Mix project which seeks to elevate the role of essential workers and encourage more engagement with them. We hope this work will be a building block towards nation-wide change in appreciating these essential workers who bring us on 176.8 million bus journeys every month. So next time you’re riding the bus network, we hope you will remember to say ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ to our brilliant bus staff.

If you have a favourite story from your local bus driver or bus station staff, we would love you to share it in the comment section here so we can continue to celebrate all that they contribute to our communities.

A huge thank you to TfL, operators and drivers that made this campaign what it is. With thanks, as always, to The National Lottery Community Fund, and their Bringing People Together Grant for enabling us to do this work.

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