Viva Aikins, a driver at our Shepherd’s Bush operations hub, describes working life at the forefront.

If you’re a regular traveller on bus routes running into Central London from the Shepherd’s Bush area, there’s a chance Viva might have been behind the wheel.

She drives on five different bus routes and enjoys the ‘people’ side of her job coupled with using the finely honed skills required to navigate a bus safely through some of the busiest parts of London.

Prior to joining RATP Dev London in 2014, Viva had been a make-up artist but had been finding it increasingly difficult to carry out that job while caring for a young family. One day, a friend suggested becoming a bus driver might give her the flexibility she needed.

“I told her not to be ridiculous,” said Viva. “I really couldn’t imagine me driving a double-deck bus through London, but as I thought about it further, I realised my friend was right.”

Viva applied for a job with RATP Dev London, completed her training and started her new career. She hasn’t looked back.

“I had a fantastic trainer,” said Viva. “He was really tough, but kind, and now I realise why. When you’re driving a bus, you’re in charge of people’s lives so it’s not a job to take lightly.”

Viva really enjoys her new career and says the pinnacle was when her boss put her forward for a competition to find London’s top bus driver.

“I was amazed when my name was announced as the winner. To be named London’s top London bus driver after just 14 months in the job was incredible. I’ll never forget the feeling of winning.”