Treating Customers like Family
Nikola is the newest addition to the Chatterbus team and our only female driver. She has a passion for helping people, the same passion that has always driven her career choices. Nikola worked as a qualified nanny and a carer for many years prior to joining Chatterbus. She was looking for a new challenge but at the same time, wanted to apply her experience in what she does best, which is helping people.
‘I have got an elderly mother and I treat everyone the same way I’ d like others to treat her, like their own family’.
This is Nikola’ s main motto and foundation for her work ethic and it shows. Her contagious smile and friendly warm attitude make all the difference to even the shortest Chatterbus journey.
‘I always try to go out of my way to help our passengers, whether it’ s help with their shopping bags or push chairs or whether it’ s trying to stop the bus to let them get off as close to their place as possible, within reason of course’.
As a former nanny and carer, Nikola was already an experienced and trusted driver. But for the new job with Chatterbus, an additional certificate to drive a minibus as well a fresh DBS check were required; Nikola acquired both with ease. She had to shadow another Chatterbus driver for two weeks to learn the routes and to work with the computer that is used for ticket sale and for pass recognition (there are different types of passes for different needs of individual passengers).
‘Single journey tickets tend to be the most popular among our customers but we have provisions in form of different types of concession passes, for example for people who find themselves in financial difficulties. We also support families in need of children from Cobham Free School by provision of subsidized transport to and from school’.
Driving students from Oxshott to CFS is how Nikola’s typical working day usually begins, unless it’ s holiday time. She collects the first lot of children at 7.40 a.m. from Waverley Road in Oxshott and the second lot at 7.45 from the bus stop by The Old Plough pub to have them safely arrived at the CFS Senior school campus by 8 a.m.
‘From there it’ s off to Oakdene Road to drive members of public up and down the C3 route, fourteen times a day. The C1 bus follows a slightly different route, the two buses complement each other’.
For more details of Chatterbus routes and timetables, go to
Nikola ’s day finishes off by another school run, she collects the CFS student sat 4.45 p.m. and drives them safely home.
‘My shift finishes at 5 p.m. and because I park the C3 bus safely at my own private parking spot in Leatherhead, I start and finish my working day on my doorstep, which is an advantage. I can carry out all the required routine check of the bus and the computer before I get on the road every morning right in from of my house’.
Nikola loves her job and hopes that the number of Chatterbus passengers keeps growing because it is not only a convenient and reasonably priced way to travel but it can also be a very social affair.
‘I know many passengers by their names and many know each other. A friendly chat can make all the difference to someone’s day, it can cheer one up, or provide an update on various local matters.’
Nikola wishes more people knew about the fact that Chatterbus is a community service for everyone.
‘Sometime people assume that Chatterbus needs to be pre-booked or that a special pass is needed. But the service is open to everyone, the fares can be paid by cash or card on the bus so it is a very easy and cheap way to travel’.
We will certainly keep promoting this vital and unique local transport service so the number of customers keeps growing.
Thank you for your time, Nikola, and for the excellent job you are doing.
By Katerina Lusk