Jay Soman

Joined Stagecoach in: 2012 (having been TUPE’d over from Arriva)

Role: Acting Area Network Controller

Location: West Ham

What attracted you to a career as a bus driver?
I saw an advert for bus drivers in a newspaper which a friend left on the back seat of his car. At the time, I was self-employed and it was the recession, so I decided to go for it so that I could get a stable income. My plan was to do it for 6-12 months and then go back to working for myself.

What is the best thing about your job?
When I first started, I couldn’t believe that I had the responsibility of a bus full of passengers! It was overwhelming to begin with, but it was nice to feel trusted and to have a responsible job. As a driver it’s good to feel appreciated; the elderly people especially tend to make you feel like this when you give them assistance. As an Acting Area Network Controller (AANC), you tend to help people in a lot of different departments. When a driver reports something and you are able to resolve that for them, it’s good to know that you have achieved something.

What one thing has surprised you most about working here for Stagecoach London?
In my role as an AANC I work alongside different departments including iBus, Operations, Engineering and Commercial. I’ve learnt that if there is ever a problem, there is always someone there to support you and offer assistance if needed. All departments work extremely well together to get the required results.

What are your top three tips that you’d give to anyone thinking of applying to be a bus driver at Stagecoach London?

  • Weekly pay can be a change from monthly, so make sure you are prepared for this when you start.
  • The training element is a challenge which can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you concentrate and have the right attitude, you will learn to love the job.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always ask for help if you are struggling with something. There is a strong support system in this industry and someone will always help.

Did you think of doing a different job before you joined us?
Before joining the buses, I was self-employed. My long-term plan back in 2009 was to work on the buses for around a year and then go back to being self-employed. My son was due to finish University in 2016., which is when I was planning to emigrate to Trinidad with my wife, to take up farming and have an easier life. However, my wife went to Trinidad for a couple of years when I was first working on the buses,  but came home to the UK again after deciding that life there wasn’t for her. So I’m still here!