Four decades at the wheel for this South Yorkshire bus driver
What started as a stop-gap job only meant to last six months has turned into a lifetime career for one Stagecoach bus driver.
Bob Pitts who has celebrated 40 consecutive years of driving has now been honoured with an achievement award of the Road Operators Safety Council (ROSCO) Safe Driving Diploma.
He said: “I’m honoured to receive this award. I take pride in operating safe and reliable services for Stagecoach and doing a great job for my customers.
“I’ve seen a lot of changes in the last 40 years but I still really enjoy meeting people and getting them where they need to be safely.”
64-year-old Bob, from Zion Drive Mapplewell, started work with Stagecoach four decades ago as a bus conductor and then moved onto to driving.
He said: “When I started all those years ago it was meant to be a six month job to see me through until I found the right job for me – turns out more than 40 years later I haven’t left so it must be the job for me.”
Bob was previously crowned ROSCO Bus Driver of the year in 2015 and has continued to deliver an excellent standard of driving and customer service since then.
Sue Hayes, Operations Director Stagecoach Yorkshire said “We are lucky to have many excellent drivers in our team, but Bob really stands out for his impeccable standards and great customer service.
"Like many of our team, he has worked tirelessly throughout the recent pandemic, getting people where they need to be with a smile.
“Bob is a real asset to Stagecoach Yorkshire and we are very proud of his achievement.”
Bob says the biggest change he has seen over his 40 years is the buses themselves.
"When I first started there was no power steering, no heating and you’d get ice on the inside of the windows. Now the buses are greener for the environment, lighter, brighter, and much much warmer!”
Spending so many hours on the roads Bob has seen car accidents over the years, and he says things like that are difficult to leave behind.
"Some of the horrible ones I have seen stay with me but I work with a great bunch of people and we have good laughs in the canteen on break time and they help you get through everything. And the passengers of course. You get to know your regulars and when they ask me how I am it makes my day as you are a part of their lives just as they are for you.”The dad-of-three and granddad-of-one says when he first started for Stagecoach the routes went across West Yorkshire and into parts of Manchester and he used to work early and late shifts and his family have got used to him coming in at 1am or going out at 3am.
"You just have to treasure the time you do have when you do get days off.”
Bob routes are not that widespread anymore and added: “People can go internet shopping at home so we are seeing less people just nipping into town but I think there will always be a need for buses as people can’t drive or afford cars and some want to make greener choices so I think they still have a strong future.”