National Express West Midlands‘ (NEWM) longest-serving employee has hung up his keys for the final time after 56 years with the operator.
Driver Bob Smith, 75, was honoured on his final day before retirement by a traditional bus pull of an MCW Metrobus at NEWM’s Acocks Green garage in Birmingham.
Bob, who lives in South Yardley, started out with the company as a conductor in 1967, aged 18. He then switched to driving for the next 54 years at the age of 21.
He served as designated driver on the operator’s Dorridge bus routes before becoming a staff driver for fellow colleagues for the last 20 years of his career.
He was awarded Master Driver status by NEWM in recognition of his excellent safety record and driver skills. However, he is also noted by the company for his customer service skills.
The bus for the celebratory pull is owned by Bob’s colleague, NEWM’s Driver Development Coach, Andy Walcott.
Mat Dale, NEWM Operations Manager, says: “Bob will be sorely missed. He was a top-notch bloke – very honest, kind, and always willing to help whenever he could. He’s a bit of an icon at our Acocks Green garage and we’ll all really miss him.
“On behalf of everyone at the garage, I’d like to thank Bob for his dedication over the years. He’s been a brilliant driver, which was proven by his recent Master Driver status, and his knowledge and experience of the roads was unrivalled.
“We’ve really enjoyed working with Bob and wish him all the best for his retirement.”
In his retirement, Bob intends to spend more time travelling, renovating his house and gardening.