CHEERS DRIVE! Public transport industry pays tribute to its key workers
It’s a phrase that is synonymous with Bristol and even has a road named after it in Speedwell. Now people across the city are being encouraged to say ‘Cheers Drive’ to recognise the efforts of bus drivers during the coronavirus as part of an industry-wide initiative across the UK.
The brainchild of local bus operator, First West of England, ‘Cheers Drive’ will form part of a nationwide support day on Tuesday 5th May for the public transport industry’s key workers led by the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), the sector’s main trade body. The day will thank everyone in the bus and coach industry for their work in keeping vital transport services running for workers and the general public during the Covid-19 outbreak.
‘Cheers Drive’ is encouraging people across the city to show their gratitude to all bus drivers by giving the thumbs up when passing by.
The initiative hopes to encourage people to use the friendly greeting from a safe 2-metre distance when using bus services for essential travel, or when out on their government-advised daily exercise, to show their appreciation.
Children and families across the region are also being encouraged to get involved by displaying a #CheersDrive colouring poster in their window for bus drivers to see when going along the routes. This poster can be found on First West of England’s website and social media channels.
James Freeman, managing director at First West of England said: “Cheers Drive is a fondly used term in Bristol and we felt that it was very apt during the current circumstances and to mark the nationwide support day.
“Keeping the local bus network running is vital for the key workers and a lifeline for those making essential journeys, in line with government guidance. Today (Tuesday 5th May) we join with operators across the UK to show appreciation for all public transport workers who are making this happen. Our memories will also be with the two First West of England drivers who we have very sadly lost to coronavirus.
“I am immensely proud of all my colleagues and of the bus industry as a whole. It’s thanks to the drivers, engineers, cleaners and all staff working behind the scenes, that buses continue to provide a safe and reliable service for those who need them.
“That’s why we’re asking Bristolians join us in a unanimous ‘Cheers Drive’ and keep up the unique local greeting by giving a thumbs up to buses from a safe 2-metre distance as they go about their routes, or displaying a ‘Cheers Drive’ poster in your window for all drivers and public transport staff to spot on their journeys. Your support will help brighten up the day of drivers across the city and make the public transport workers extremely proud of the work they are doing.”
First West of England is encouraging people to share their ‘Cheers Drive’ poster displays and messages with the hashtag #CheersDrive on social media.
Freeman added: “Bristol is well-known for its friendly character and with less people out and about, it’s more important than ever before to share a cheery greeting.”
Government Transport Minister, Baroness Vere said: “The bus and coach industry is absolutely vital in our fight against this virus helping transport staff to the front line, ensuring people can make essential journeys to pick up food and medicine, and delivering essential supplies across the country.
“To all our bus and coach drivers, along with all the teams working hard behind the scenes to ensure every journey is safe, clean and on time – thank you.”
CPT chief executive, Graham Vidler said: “Many people rely on buses to make their essential journeys during the coronavirus crisis. Without the team effort of all those working in the bus and coach industry the emergency network for key workers would grind to a halt. Coaches are also playing a major role moving supplies, key workers and those returning from abroad in a safe and secure environment.
“We just want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone working on the frontline and behind the scenes to make sure these journeys can continue.”
More information on the campaign can be found on First West of England’s social media channels and all latest service updates can be found at the First Bus website: www.firstgroup.com/coronaviruswoe