Tourists flying to Sweden will enjoy a new sight this year, as male train drivers in Stockholm have swapped their long trousers for skirts in an attempt to cool down in the hot weather. The workers have been wearing skirts in order to get around the company’s new ban on shorts in the summer.
The train drivers donning the new skirts all work on the Roslagbanan line north of Stockholm. The male staff members have been seen wearing skirts for the past two weeks. Surprisingly, the company that runs the train line, Arriva, has welcomed the uniform change, although its ban still stands on shorts in the summer.
"Our thinking is that one should look decent and proper when representing Arriva and the present uniforms do that,” said Tomas Hedenius, communication manger at Arriva. “If the man only wants to wear a skirt then that is OK... To tell them to do something else would be discrimination.” Hedenius also added that shorts appeared “more relaxed” than skirts.
The idea to get around the ban on shorts by wearing skirts was the brainchild of driver Martin Akerston and his colleagues. "We have always said that when summer comes, we will get some skirts and wear them,” the driver told the BBC. “It's very warm weather here so we would like to wear shorts but if we can't then we have skirts for comfort.”
"The passengers stare at us but so far no-one has said anything - well, not to me, anyway. And I don't mind as it's more about comfort."
The driver explained that temperatures in the train cab can reach 35C in the summer. Drivers are expected to continue to wear the new skirts throughout summer and a meeting is due in September to discuss the issue of uniforms.
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