A loyal employee at a local bus company is stepping down and taking a back seat after an incredible 40 years service at a bus depot in Hartlepool, and has loved every minute of it.
65-year-old Trevor Best, from Seaton Carew, has worked for Stagecoach North East since 1976, where he began his career in the public transport industry as a bus driver.
But his passion for the buses didn’t start straight away, as he explains: “I left school on a Friday and then started work on the Monday as an apprentice bricklayer, which I did for 11 years, but I then got fed up of working outside. I saw the job for bus driver, thought this looks good and have never looked back. It has been absolutely brilliant.”
Trevor spent the next eight years as a bus driver, before working his way up to inspector and then a role as duty manager where he was based in the office. A second promotion saw Trevor take a further step up the ladder to his current position of senior duty manager. With starts as early as 4am, Trevor made sure that everything was in place at the depot and ran through the day’s operations with the manager, while also covering driving shifts as and when required.
Although Trevor is due to retire, he can’t quite bring himself to ‘turn the lights off and go home’ so after two weeks’ holiday to celebrate reaching retirement age, he will be coming back to Stagecoach as a driver for two days a week, as he loves the customer facing role so much.
Reminiscing over his 40 years with Stagecoach, Trevor said: “I have enjoyed absolutely everything about the job, including the early starts and the late finishes! But mostly the staff, who are amazing and the comradeship we have at work. I know them all and have trained many of them, helping them to go as far as they can and it’s a brilliant thing to be part of. Of course there have been many changes over the years with modern buses and electronic ticket machines, and passengers are more cheerful as the buses are more frequent and much warmer than they were years ago!
“When I am driving buses, I am still surprised when I see people and they say ‘I haven’t seen you for about 40 years, you used to take me to school’, and now you are taking their children and grandchildren. I have had a great rapport with the public over the years, which makes me feel good and makes the passengers feel good. It has been 40 years but it feels like yesterday and I can remember the first day, it has gone so quick.”
A particular highlight for Trevor was taking part and playing a key role in the 2012 London Olympic Games as part of the Stagecoach support team who were transporting athletes around the city. Stagecoach North East supplied 174 employees in total for the Games in London, as well as vehicles, as the company delivered transport services to more than eight million people who travelled to the London 2012 Games venues.
“I was on Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) control, tracking buses in the West Ham depot in London and monitoring rows and rows of CCTV cameras for the nine weeks during the Olympics and Paralympics. I had to learn all the routes and fully understand the AVL and the CCTV system. It was an amazing occasion and really a once in a lifetime experience. On my days off, I was able to take my Oyster card and see the sights. I also made a lot of friends, had great food and the chance to get tickets for hockey, athletics and other events for free!”
Trevor has won numerous awards during his service thanks to his community work in schools, including working closely with the Police about safety on buses, which he did for over 25 years. He was nominated by Cleveland Police for a special award from the National Federation of Bus Users, for his work in schools in conjunction with the Driver of the Year award, which he felt was a real honour.
Further recognition of his community work followed with a trip to London to meet the Transport Minister and then from the company itself, as he became a Stagecoach Champion, for going the extra mile.
He continued: “Stagecoach has been a very good employer to me, with great training opportunities and chance for promotion. The Long Service Awards every year are always a night to remember and I have never missed one in 40 years! I have been very happy with my career, not really wanting to take up the opportunity to be a manager, as they generally move around and I wanted to stay settled here.
“Although I am not taking full retirement, I will have much more time on my hands to spend with my family and grandchildren, as well as relaxing in the garden and holidaying in the UK and abroad. “
Jason Astley, Operations Manager at Stagecoach North East’s Hartlepool depot, said: “Although Trevor is not leaving the company completely, he will certainly be missed around the duty office. He has proven to be a fantastic member of the Stagecoach North East team and has shown valuable dedication over the years. We are glad that he has decided to re-join his role as a driver and I am sure the passengers will be delighted. I wish him the best of luck and hope he enjoys his semi-retirement and free time with the family.”