Portrait of a powerful woman in the transport industry
However, Mrs Bischof also highlights the fact that the good things from the past should not be forgotten: “We have to be careful and take the important things from the past with us on our way to the future.” In this context, she mentions the importance of keeping the borders open in Europe: “Nothing should be lost from the things we have been fighting for in the past.” The freedom to travel is very important for German people and it directly affects coach operators.
Talking about employees, Mrs Bischof mentions that attracting good employees is not a recent problem. Already in the mid-eighties Mrs Bischof was trying to encourage women to enter the sector. Her initiative “Vorfahrt für Frauen” (“Priority for women”) proved to be successful, bringing hundreds of women drivers to the steering wheels of buses and coaches.
Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work to be done in this respect as figures show that in Germany only 10 per cent of the qualified drivers are women. But this rate is rising and we might soon see a new generation of female bus and coach operators. Edith Bischof could definitely serve as their role model.
It is also important to note that in the nineties Mrs Bischof became chairwoman of the public relations committee of the German bus and coach operators association, BDO. One of her projects in this role was the creation of the green ‘Bus David’. The icon was for many years the symbol for the German bus and coach industry. ‘Bus David’ was actually the source of inspiration for the Smart Move bus, as well.
A truly inspiring figure, Edith Bischof should be taken as an example by women from all over the world.
Special thanks to Edith Bischof, Matthias Schröter and BDO for providing us with the base material for this article.