Allyship Alex Hornby McGills Buses

Allyship Initiative: Alex Hornby, McGill’s Buses

Today we launch our new Allyship initiative, an initiative which recognises individuals who have been Allies in supporting and empowering women across the bus, coach, and community transport sector. We will showcase and learn from individuals who have contribute significantly to the professional growth and empowerment of women, whether through mentorship, advocacy, or creating opportunities for women to thrive, these allies have played a crucial role in promoting gender equality and diversity in our sector.

This initiative also aims to encourage everyone to be allies, with the individuals featured sharing insights into their own professional career background, as well as sharing their approach and providing suggestions/advice on how we can be allies.

Today we hear from and learn about:

Alex Hornby
Group Managing Director,
McGill’s Bus Group

How did you get to where you are today?

I was brought up on buses, we relied on them as a family, and so it was probably inevitable I would work in the bus industry. After work experience as a 15-year-old at my local bus depot Liverpool, I then studied Transport Management at Aston University where I also worked part time as a bus driver. I then trained with Stagecoach as part of their graduate programme, before moving to Go Ahead’s Bluestar as Operations Manager and then ultimately holding director roles at Trentbarton and Transdev before arriving in Scotland with McGill’s last summer.

Did you experience any challenges getting to where you are today?

There will often be challenges as you progress through your career, and study new disciplines and ownership & operating models – as well as the varying cultures presented by different people and locations. I have been well supported in my career with great mentors and good sources of knowledge both inside and outside of work. I would always advise those wishing to progress to have the humility to always want to learn and find those kind & willing people – of which this industry has many – who can offer their wisdom and act as a sounding board.

What do you like about the sector?

The people, the variety, and the ability to make a difference! And this isn’t just about the people we get to work with, but by the very nature of our business, if we do what we do well and move our customers effectively, we get to have a very positive impact on how our towns and city’s function: Great for the areas in which we work, great for business, great for people!

What does a typical day look like?

As I ensure I mix my destinations between the office, visiting stakeholders or other depot locations, I am blessed with variety rather than a typical day, although they are usually long, often fun, and I ensure they are productive! We are a people business – whether we employ them or serve them – so you have to get out there and listen to your colleagues and your customers.

Why does the sector need allies and how do you bring this into your role?’

The challenge to address the lack of diversity is so significant and critical, it needs the strength of the many men who work within our sector to effect the change by making our workplaces and organisations more attractive to all.

Why is diversity important?

The workforce of our industry doesn’t reflect the diversity of our customers or the nature of the world we live in. This means we aren’t as effective as we should be in our decision making or putting ourselves in the customers shoes. We miss out on many opportunities and perspectives if we narrow our outlook.

What changes have you made in your role to support women and to encourage more women into the bus and coach sector?

A number of things – but so much still to do! I am keen to make women feel more comfortable that a job with us can be for them and normalising our approach. We look for a variety of skills and experiences which means everyone is welcome, irrelevant of their gender or background. We have emphasised the role of women as role models in our recruitment advertising via our McGill’s Made It For Me campaign. We have created a safe and open space for discussion on how women feel in the workplace, and design improvements to the company, in our touring, monthly Women At The Wheel sessions (open to everyone); and I expect much more to come as our series of initiatives embeds into our working culture, and we develop more female leaders in the business.

What advice when you give to other men in the bus and coach sector to be a supportive ally?

Be open to the obvious advantages to your business and realise you are missing out! Then use your decision making power, and personal leadership, to create and enable the difference. Set the example: Listen to others, be open to criticism, and – most importantly – support the changes that may be needed.

What could the sector do collectively together to change for the better?

Look around for best practice, inside and outside the sector, and listen to those who have embraced diversity and the benefits that follow. We should share more examples of best practice particularly from the great women leaders that exist around our sector.

Anything else you would like to share?

I’ve always believed our industry is a great place to work in and we need to do more to attract new talent. I’m sure we have restricted ourselves because we haven’t been as open to diversity in the past – now we have a great opportunity as leaders to address this and all be winners in the process!


Thank you for sharing your story Alex and thank you for being an ally and your support of the Women in Bus and Coach Initiative.

To find out more about who Alex works for and career opportunities visit: McGill’s Buses – Scotland’s Largest Independent Bus Company (

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