Oxford bus driver hangs up his keys after two million miles

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Roger Pudwell with Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company’s Managing Director. OXFORD BUS COMPANY

A bus and coach driver who clocked over two million miles during a 42-year career has completed his service on public transport and retired. Roger Pudwell joined Oxford Bus Company on 15 September 1980, when Diana Ross was topping the charts and the average family home set a buyer back £23,000.

A carpenter by trade, Roger only planned to be on the buses for 12 months at most. But 42 years after serving his first customers, and an estimated 20,000 journeys later, the 65-year-old has decided to hang up his keys. A resident of the city’s Blackbird Leys area, he has witnessed plenty of change in the industry during his career but said the key qualities of a being a good bus driver will always remain the same.


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“We’re there to greet passengers with a smile, transport them to where they want to go and wish them a lovely day,” said the married father of two. “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and would not change a thing. For 35 years, I’ve been driving The Airline linking Oxford to Heathrow and Gatwick. I would challenge anyone claiming to have better knowledge of the southern stretch of the M40 and western side of the M25 than myself. There are always challenges and obstacles to overcome but being friendly and going that extra mile to give passengers the service they have paid for is the secret to a successful career.”

Roger’s loyalty was recognised by the operator in a special presentation at its annual Really Amazing Awards ceremony. Roger says he plans to spend retirement caring for his father and adding to his mileage clock with wife Tracey, while spending time with his three granddaughters.

“I have a to-do list at home dating back more than four decades before I can think of putting my feet up,” he laughed. “I’ve spent most of my career starting people’s holidays on the journey to the airport, so I think it’s time to enjoy a few trips myself.”

After spending more than four decades behind the wheel Roger said he would still recommend becoming a bus driver to anyone looking to fit their lifestyle around flexible shift patterns. “It’s far better than working eight hours a day, five days a week,” he said. “Bus driving is flexible and there is a real need for drivers right now so rates of pay and bonus schemes are very good. Most importantly, you get to meet lots of lovely people and balance life with a rewarding career.”

Luke Marion, Oxford Bus Company’s Interim Managing Director, said: “Roger has covered an extraordinary number of miles during his time here and we thank him for his fantastic service to our passengers and the company. His loyalty, customer service and attention to detail are all qualities that mean so many passengers enjoy travelling with Oxford Bus Company and we’re very grateful to Roger and all drivers for making such a difference. I’m sure all my colleagues will join me wishing Roger a well-deserved long and happy retirement.”