Bus driver Jo rises up the ranks to support 250 staff
A Polish national who came to York in search of work on the advice of her best friend has risen up the ranks at First York and is now looking after the interests of bus drivers who make up the majority of some 250 employees at the bus operator.
Jo Pakosz has been promoted to Staff Manager with responsibility for managing the day-to-day performance of drivers and reporting on service, liaison with operations on daily shifts and supporting recruitment and personal development.
She moves from the role of Journey Maker Champion, part of a team delivering a dedicated customer relations programme in First Bus, which she began in 2020 shortly before the start of the pandemic.
Jo, 42, who trained as an accountant in Poland and joined the bus operator in 2007, said: “I’ve taken little steps to get to this stage and the knowledge from different roles related to being a driver will really help.
“The thing I learned early on in the bus industry is that no day is the same, there are always challenges and you never know what might happen.”
She started in customer service and trained to be a driver in 2012, later becoming a ‘buddy driver’ supporting new starters at its training school and acting as a learning representative for the Unite union.
First York is currently underway with a driver recruitment campaign to build back its staffing to support services as bus passenger levels recover with growing leisure travel and people returning to workplaces following the pandemic.
Alongside fellow staff Manager Gareth Thomas, Jo works with the Contracts Manager Andy Hayes who joined the business as a driver following a successful career in the Army. He is among many in First York to make the transition from military to civilian life through bus driving and now leads all operational activity on park and ride, University and Hospital services.
“If someone had told me before I came to the UK that I would be driving buses I would never have believed them, but I’ve never regretted making that choice,“ said Jo.
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