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Torrens Transit veteran reflects on 45-year journey as bus driver

Torrens Transit, owned by Transit Systems, has paid tribute to longstanding driver Richard for 45 years behind the wheel

In a world where careers often change as frequently as the seasons, some individuals stand out for their unwavering commitment to their profession. Richard, an Adelaide bus driver, recently celebrated an astounding 45 years behind the wheel.

As he reflects on his journey, Transit Systems delved into the story of a man whose dedication to public service has become a part of Adelaide’s rich tapestry.

Richard’s journey into the world of bus driving began in a rather unconventional way. After working in a factory for 13 years, he yearned for a change and a taste of the great outdoors.

A whisper in the wind led him to the Metropolitan Transport Trust (MTT) doors, where he decided to apply for a bus driver position. He soon embarked on a career that would span nearly five decades.

Over these 45 years, Richard has seen Adelaide transform before his very eyes. He vividly recalls the days when bus tickets were divided into different sections, each with its own price.

“Counting out cash and ticket numbers was a daily ritual,” he says.

“But technology has made things so much more straightforward.”

What keeps Richard motivated after all these years? It’s a genuine passion for driving and a commitment to self-improvement.

“I enjoy driving and take pride in refining my skills,” he says.

“Meeting mostly friendly passengers and learning to handle the occasional challenging ones has been a rewarding experience.”

In his career archives, one incident stands out – a bus fire during a 645 route many years ago. Miraculously, no passengers or personnel were harmed, but the vehicle was lost.

Moments like these underscore the importance of safety in the transportation industry. Richard’s vigilant approach to road rules and a keen eye on other road users have been instrumental in ensuring the safety of his passengers and fellow road travellers.

As technology has evolved, so has the world of bus driving. Richard has seen the introduction of power steering, improved heating and cooling systems, comfortable cloth seats, and digital destination displays.

These advancements have enhanced the overall experience for both drivers and passengers.

With thousands of passengers over the years, Richard’s memory is filled with countless stories, faces, and encounters.

When asked about memorable riders, he says, “Too many to recite!” – a testament to the diversity and richness of his experiences.

“Be prepared for every day to be different,” he says.

“Interact with people politely, stay calm in the face of adversity and always prioritise safety.”

Balancing the demands of a bus driver’s job with a personal life can be challenging, especially after 45 years of dedication.

Richard emphasizes the importance of understanding and support from loved ones.

“You have to adjust,” he says. “You choose this path, and it’s all about finding the right balance.”

As Richard celebrates his remarkable milestone, he has a message for his colleagues, passengers and the Adelaide community:

“We are all unique. Do your job to the best of your abilities, show tolerance for those you may not always get along with, and be polite and friendly. Most importantly, ensure you go home safely every day,” he says.

Richard’s story is a testament to the enduring dedication of those who quietly serve communities.

Transit Systems says Adelaide is fortunate to have had Richard at the wheel for 45 incredible years, ensuring that the city keeps moving, one bus ride at a time.

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