Arriva Birkenhead depot driver Billy Garbutt tells the story of how he became a bus driver and how his daughter Kirsty followed in his footsteps.
Billy, a 64-year-old driver at Arriva North West’s depot in Birkenhead, became a bus driver almost a quarter of a century ago after working in a number of different roles in the transport industry.
Billy said: “After seeing an advert calling for more drivers at Arriva, I instantly thought of my son who is a bus fanatic, and it wasn’t until Kirsty overheard me speaking to my son that she grabbed the opportunity with both hands and couldn’t wait to try her hand at something new.”
Kirsty, 26, previously worked in the bakery at a supermarket, and in December 2016, she joined her father at Arriva’s Birkenhead depot after deciding to take on a new challenge.
Kirsty said: “I’ve always loved driving and have a real fascination with big vehicles – which people find strange because I’m so small – but it’s just always been something that I’ve been drawn to. So, when I heard that Arriva were looking for more drivers it was like a dream come true and I just couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of a double-decker bus!
Since starting the job, I definitely have a new-found admiration for my Dad and the length of time that he’s served in the bus industry, I would say he’s my inspiration.”
Since becoming a bus driver, Kirsty enjoys attending bus rallies across the country with her father and brother, most recently the North West Vehicle Restoration Trust‘s annual running day in Kirkby, to which Kirsty drove Arriva North West’s “BrickBus” liveried Wrightbus-bodied Volvo B7TL, which is a favourite bus of hers.
“I really love the special brick tiled bus that was created for the Liverpool Biennial we have at Arriva, so much so that I took it to a bus fayre with my Dad and brother in May and it was such a great day out spent together.
I think if you’d have told me that I would become such a bus fanatic five years ago I wouldn’t have believed you, so I really can’t thank my dad enough for inspiring me to try my hand at something new and find a job that I am so passionate about.”
For this year’s Father’s Day, Kirsty plans to take her dad Billy out for a meal at his favourite restaurant as well as on a walk with her three pet dogs.
“My Dad has been such a great support over the last year and this Father’s Day I can’t way to show him just how much I appreciate everything that he’s done for me.”