From sport to transport

If global public transport giant Transdev ever fielded a cricket team with players from its Melbourne bus operation, it would be a formidable line up.

Transdev's Suraj Randiv and Waddington Mwayenga

Transdev's Suraj Randiv and Waddington Mwayenga

Chinthaka Jayasinghe would open the batting. The powerful all-rounder played 142 first-class matches in his native Sri Lanka, hitting 6417 runs including 11 centuries and taking 104 wickets. His five T20 internationals for his country yielded 49 runs at a strike rate of 100.

Waddington Mwayenga would open the bowling. The right-arm paceman was 21 when he played his one Test match against India, claiming the wicket of skipper Sourav Ganguly and scoring an unbeaten 14 No.11 against a world-class bowling attack, including spinners Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh.

Suraj Randiv would play as the spinner. The right-arm offbreak bowler took 43 wickets in 12 Tests, including match figures of 9/162 against India in his second Test at Colombo. He was also a versatile white-ball bowler, taking 36 wickets in 31 one-day internationals.

Chinthaka was recruited through Transdev’s Bus-to-Bus program, which helps experienced bus drivers transition into a new role through a program that includes driving evaluation and training in customer service.

Waddington and Suraj joined Transdev in 2020 through its Journey Maker Academy program, from which Transdev Melbourne has recruited 200 bus drivers since 2018. The program helps people from outside the transport industry become bus drivers by targeting people with car licences and strong customer service backgrounds, helping them gain the heavy vehicle licence they need to drive a bus. 

After coming to Australia for six months to play with Youlden Parkville Cricket Club, Waddington stayed on, working for 12 years at Cricket Victoria in boosting migrant participation.

He was attracted to Transdev for the flexibility bus driving offered.

“The most important thing was to be able to work across my family life and have the opportunity to meet people from all different backgrounds, which was what I was doing with cricket,” he said. 

“I had the skills and qualities that enabled me to deal with people from all backgrounds and to help people get around safely.

“The flexibility the job brings is fantastic. So too is the fact people recognise your efforts. Most people, when they ring the buzzer for the next stop, say thank you so there’s a feel-good factor in terms of people appreciating what you’re doing and feeling you are making a difference in the community.”

After receiving permanent residency in 2018, Suraj settled in Melbourne with plans to coach aspiring spin bowlers, but the pandemic put paid to that. He has no regrets.

“I was very fortunate to get the job and am so far doing well,” he said. “Transdev does a very good job keeping its drivers very calm to concentrate on their driving because you need to be very focused.”

Suraj, who plays Premier Cricket with Dandenong, said being empathetic helped him manage the occasional challenging customer.

“If you can understand the situation you can deal with it because sometimes people you meet are very stressed, maybe because of the pandemic, so you need to be calm.

“I have been through stressful situations in my life, so I have that experience to deal with customers,” he said.

Transdev Melbourne Managing Director Ian Craig said the company had a huge diversity of professional backgrounds among its more than 1200 bus drivers. 

“Next time you get on the bus, you may be driven by a former cricketer, a former pastry chef, or a former social worker just to name a few examples,” he said. 

“Despite the diversity of backgrounds, our drivers share a united passion for customer service and ensuring we continue to provide Victorians with a safe, reliable and comfortable journey.” 

Considering a career in the transport industry? Visit the Transdev website.