Business & Careers

Behind The Biz // Driving Miss Daisy Wollongong

Meet Bethany, who’s safe & friendly companion driving service is giving locals piece of mind

How this pioneering companion driving service is giving locals a ticket to freedom.

Do you take getting from A to B for granted? 

Most of us do, but for some people driving just isn’t an option, which is why the companion driving service offered by Driving Miss Daisy Wollongong provides a much-needed ticket to freedom for those who need it. 

Founded by Bethany Paterson, the business is growing from strength to strength, after being awarded Highly Commended in the Customer Focus category of the Illawarra Women in Business Awards this year, and now with a fourth vehicle recently added to the fleet, making it even more likely you’ll see one of their eye-catching bright blue vehicles on Wollongong’s roads. 

We caught up with Bethany to find out more about her blooming business. 

1 :: A strong connection to the Illawarra. 

Bethany recalls fond early childhood memories of spending time with her grandparents at Bulli Beach as she was growing up, and then her family moved to the area when she was eight years old and she lived here until she was 16. 

After leaving with her family due to her father’s career, Bethany spent time in Sydney before choosing to return to Wollongong in her early thirties.

“I’ve always had such a fondness for the Illawarra, and when I met my partner Adam and he lived here, it just made sense for me to move back to Wollongong. It’s such a special place and I’m so happy that my kids now get to grow up here and call it home,” says Bethany. 

2 :: From corporate-career to community-minded business. 

Commuting to the city for her corporate career after the move, and living through the remote-working times of the pandemic, Bethany realised she wanted to find a job that meant she could be part of the local community and more available for her twin boys. 

“I’d spent 17 years in corporate roles, so I wasn’t sure what my next move would be. But I’ve always loved helping people and I love driving – so when I came across the Driving Miss Daisy franchise it felt like the perfect opportunity.”

Bethany established the Wollongong business in February 2022, and initially had quite humble aspirations for the business, but the genuine care and support she gives her clients has seen the business and team of drivers grow rapidly. 

This growth comes down to truly tailoring the service to each person’s needs: 

“Just as no two people are the same, no two trips are the same. We offer a people-led service, where we take the time to understand the needs of our clients and their requirements. We are genuinely door to door if needed, and consider the personal preferences of our clients to ensure every trip meets their needs,” says Bethany.

3 :: Companionship paired with convenience. 

The companion driving service offered by Driving Miss Daisy Wollongong means clients enjoy extra support and care. As Bethany points out, it takes a special kind of person to be a ‘Daisy’. 

“We go beyond simply providing transport – the companion aspect of our service means we’ll happily wait with clients at their appointments, join them for a coffee or even accompany them to the theatre! Whatever they need to make their day and journey feel special. 

“When we hire new people, it’s really about finding people who are reliable and responsible, as well as really friendly and sociable. We’ve got drivers in their 20s right through to their 60s – they are what makes our service so special.”

 4 :: Heartwarming stories from the road. 

Every client interaction at Driving Miss Daisy tells a heartwarming story. Whether it’s driving a client out to Goulburn so that he can conduct checks on his property there, taking a vision impaired client and her assistance dog to the airport, or accompanying clients on their weekly walks by the ocean. 

Bethany says their days are full of fantastic moments where they feel like they’re making a real difference to people’s lives: 

“It’s so hard to choose just one example of how we’re helping people – every person we help is part of our story! For example we have one client who we take to visit his wife in a nursing home twice a week. It means he can maintain his relationship with her, and also takes the pressure off his family when it comes to the logistics of those visits, and gives them back more quality time together on the weekends.” 

5 :: Thriving through driving. 

Bethany and her team are committed to helping their clients thrive, and her future plans include continued growth and making a positive difference in the lives of even more people. 

“Whether it’s someone who is looking for a kind and caring way to have their elderly parent taken to appointments, an NDIS support worker who wants a reliable way of transporting the people in their care, or a parent who wants to make sure their autistic adult son gets to work on time – these are all real examples of the kind of customers we help every day,” says Bethany. 

Her dedication to running an exceptional heart-led business was recognised on a national level earlier in the year, when Bethany was named Team Player of the Year and Franchise of the Year for 2023 by the national Driving Miss Daisy team. 

She also has plans to expand the fleet of Daisy cars even further, with the addition of a wheelchair-accessible vehicle and potentially hiring a commercial base for the business, which is currently headquartered from her home. 

“It’s not just about driving, it’s about driving positive change and being part of our community so that people can enjoy their full potential each day,” says Bethany. 

To find out more about everything Driving Miss Daisy offers you can head here.

Thanks Bethany 


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