world : Bus driver's 55 years, with no plans to retire

world : Bus driver's 55 years, with no plans to retire
world : Bus driver's 55 years, with no plans to retire

Monday 1 July 2024 10:30 PM

Nafeza 2 world - A bus company has paid tribute to its longest-serving employee, who has clocked up 58 years on the road and driven seven million passengers.

Kenny Beckers, 76, from Sandfields, Swansea, joined the now-defunct South Wales Transport in 1966 as an 18-year-old conductor after just two days of training.

Three years later, when he turned 21 and was legally allowed to drive a bus, he began his journey as a driver.

Since then, he estimates he has driven seven million passengers and travelled approximately 800,000 miles - the equivalent of two round trips to the moon.

UK-wide transport company First Bus has honoured Mr Beckers as their longest-serving employee, praising him as "a wonder at the wheel".

Reflecting on his early years, Kenny recalled driving on quieter roads and said: "It was great being a driver in 1969.

"We had so many routes and carried so many passengers, including lots from all the factories, the collieries and British Steel.

"I also remember we had double-deckers [buses] back then, but passengers were only allowed to smoke on the top deck.

He added that upstairs was like a mist, with all the factory girls up smoking.

"It was unbelievable."

Throughout his career, Mr Beckers has worked for five different companies due to takeovers and management buy-outs, but he takes pride in having maintained his role in the same location.

Now in semi-retirement, he drives two days a week, a significant change from his early days in the 1960s when he worked six days a week for the equivalent of £38 per month.

He attributes his long career in the bus industry to his supportive wife, Linda, 73.

He said: "She played an important part in me being able to work on the buses for so long, as she was often left to look after our four children alone for long periods of time."

One of his fondest memories was regularly picking up the Swansea Football Team en route to their training ground in the 1960s and 1970s.

He added that working in the bus industry was like being the hit ITV sitcom On The Buses.

He said: "We could do and say things that you can't do now.

"We had about 300 drivers and 300 conductors, and we could really wind each other up like the antics in that comedy show."

Mr Beckers has observed significant changes in the bus industry, particularly the decline in commuters due to the reduction in office and shop workers and the increase in car ownership, but was optimistic about the future.

"The key to getting people back on the bus is by putting on more services, but I completely understand that it's a fine line. Things are definitely picking up, and that’s great news."

Despite being in his late 70s, Mr Becker said he had no plans to give up driving anytime soon.

"Once my body feels like enough is enough then I'll give up, but I don't like putting a time on things.

"In all my years working I've never really thought about giving up the job, and I can honestly say I've never had that moment of 'I've had enough, I'm off'.

"As long as I feel good and my health's good, then I'll keep going."

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