Published: 16th October 2023

14-year-old bus enthusiast road tests future career 

Meet Dan: an avid bus fan and future driver!

When avid bus fan Dan Tyler met Chris Raybould (our Community and Engagement Coordinator) at Acocks Green’s Carnival, Dan expressed how much he’d like to be a bus driver. So Chris invited him to tour our new Perry Barr site so he could get a taste of his future career!

During the tour, Dan was joined by Alex Cooke and Stuart Goldie, from our DriVR simulator team, who allowed Dan to test the simulator and his future driving skills. Keep reading to find out how he got on…

In the morning

Me and my Dad caught the bus to the new Perry Barr site on Tuesday morning where I was meeting with Alex, Stuart and Chris for a tour and to try out the bus simulator. I was really excited, and a bit nervous, as I wasn’t too sure what to expect. I love seeing and keeping track of all the buses National Express runs across the West Midlands, but I’ve never seen what goes on behind the scenes of a bus depot.

The team was really friendly when we arrived. After signing in, I was given a brand new National Express high vis and then taken all around the depot on a tour. We got to meet some of the different teams that worked at Perry Barr and hear all about their jobs and what they do. Everyone at Perry Barr we spoke to was really friendly and talkative when I asked questions.

What surprised me?

It really surprised me how many people it takes to keep a bus service running and all the people involved behind the scenes that make it happen.

Something I learnt during the tour is that safety is the number one priority when working at National Express. Stuart explained that the bus drivers and engineers are so important in making sure National Express is as safe as possible - which is why the new depot at Perry Barr was designed to try and make their lives easier by giving them all the right equipment and tools to help them.

I also really liked and was surprised that they had a coach wash in the yard, and used rain water to clean the buses.

What I enjoyed the most

My favourite part of the trip was having a go on the simulator. It took me a while to get used to, but it was so realistic it made me jump a few times when I was wearing the VR headset. Luckily, I only knocked over a *few* cones when I was driving. At the end we all did the simulator braking challenge which was really fun, and I managed to stop the bus in 0.94 seconds (which was faster than my Dad!).

What do I want to be when I’m older?

I definitely want to be a bus driver for National Express as soon as I’m old enough. I asked Alex and Stuart, who used to be drivers, if they had any advice and they said it was best for me to apply to be a bus driver as soon as I have my drivers licence so I can avoid picking up any bad habits.

My final message

I just wanted to say a really big thank you to everyone for my amazing visit, it's been the highlight of my summer holidays. After visiting, I can't wait to be a bus driver for National Express.

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