According to current data, the average English woman is 1.62 meters, which is 13 centimeters shorter than Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, but ten centimeters taller than Tracy Scholes, a bus driver from Manchester. The height of 40-year-old Duchess Kate hasn’t been an issue in England lately, but 57-year-old Tracy Scholes’ height has. On Tuesday afternoon, protesters wanted to gather at the local bus operator in Manchester because of Scholes and its 1.52 metres.
A few weeks ago, it became public that Go North West, which had been running public bus services in Manchester since 2019, had terminated Scholes because it was too young to operate the new buses safely. The British media is constantly reporting on individual destinies bigger and smaller somewhere in the kingdom, and the Tracy Scholes story at first seemed like one of those homegrown destinies that would soon be lost in a sea of stories. But then a few celebrities became aware of this, such as the actors from the popular series “Coronation Street”, and they campaigned for Tracy Scholes on social platforms. In 1987 she was the first female bus driver in the area, and that she is a widow with three children, she will be fired after 34 years for her height: a scandal, right?
Support for Scholes grew, a petition was launched, 25,000 people signed, and anger grew. A friendly company spokesperson said in a small sarcasm over the phone on Tuesday that he was “flattered” by the attention even in the international media.
The spokesperson said she was the only one who complained
The company is one of five largest companies operating a largely privatized public bus service in the UK. Especially outside of London, bus transport is always a political issue, after all, only London routes and fares are regulated by the state. The rest of the country is often more about business than basic services, and many companies have long recognized that outside mirrors, for example, reduce profits. There are many narrow streets in British cities, which is why it is not uncommon for buses with side mirrors to get stuck somewhere. In order to reduce damage, there has been a program in Manchester for years in which the prominent outside mirrors are replaced with new mirrors built into the bus. Last year it was the turn of the buses that Tracy Scholes drove 25 hours a week.
A company spokesperson says there are at least two other tall Scholes bus drivers in Manchester, but she only complained that the new mirrors made her sit up so she couldn’t reach the pedals. She was offered many other options, including to start her way in the morning at the bus station, where she could choose the bus that suited her. She refused due to unfavorable working hours, so she was offered a job as a school bus driver with the same pay. Only: School buses don’t run 25 hours a week, so Scholes had to accept the actual cut in their paycheck. Disappointed Tracy Scholes told the BBC she couldn’t earn any less: “Loyalty didn’t matter anymore”. “I’m being punished and I can’t help it.”
Scholes also said that she will also clean buses, the main thing is that she keeps her job. Bus cleaning? The speaker does not want to comment, but one can assume that the unions, which have long been active in the Scholes case, would not have responded enthusiastically to such an offer. In the end, the spokesperson explained, there was no other choice but to terminate the working relationship. There is probably no happy ending to this story, this primal struggle in society, big versus small.
On Tuesday, the two parties met again at the company’s headquarters in Manchester, which was discussed, and the parties initially did not want to say anything. The notice period ends on February 5th.