Bus driver dismissed after ‘being too short to drive bus safely’ wins back job

·2-min read
Tracey Scholes  (ITV News)
Tracey Scholes (ITV News)

A bus driver who lost her job after she flagged she was “too short” to drive her vehicle safely when it was redesigned has been reinstated.

Tracey Scholes, one of Greater Manchester’s first female bus drivers, who is 5ft tall, said Go North West’s changes to her bus meant she could not reach the pedals without a blind spot in her wing mirrors.

The 57-year-old had been told she was unable to drive safely because of her height and was handed her notice in November after turning down alternative offers from her employer.

But now Ms Scholes, one of Greater Manchester’s first female bus drivers, has been reinstated after an appeal on January 11.

In a statement, the bus firm said it was glad that Scholes had accepted a deal to drive other buses and described her as a “valued and long-serving driver”.

Ms Scholes will now keep her job “after she decided to accept an offer to drive different buses as per a proposal made in September”, said the statement.

The bus driver of 34 years had said previously that the company had offered a different route with buses that she is able to drive, but with fewer hours.

The company said only one of three proposals offered in September would have involved shorter hours.

In a statement, the group’s HR director, Scott Maynard, said: “We have said from the start that we wanted to keep Tracey and we are glad that she has changed her mind and decided to stay.

“Dedicated, experienced, hard-working drivers are difficult to find and the industry is experiencing a shortage of drivers nationwide.”

Under the agreement, Ms Scholes will now start earlier so she can pick out a bus with wing mirrors of her preference, rather than taking on a vehicle mid-route.

There will be no change to Ms Scholes’ hours or pay, said Mr Maynard. He also rejected that the case revolved around height, saying it was “categorically untrue that we would, or could, have threatened anybody with dismissal on grounds of height.”

The firm said disciplinary action was taken only after only when multiple proposals were rejected.

The case hit national headlines after a petition was organised in support of Ms Scholes which attracted thousands of signatures.

A supporters’ demo was also organised outside the Queens Road bus depot in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, where the appeal hearing took place.

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