26/02/2022 - Coach Driver's career reaches the end of the road after 47 years
The coach driving career of Dave Pople has reached the end of the road after 47 years, 41 of which were with West-based travel business Bakers Dolphin.
The 75-year-old was one of Bakers’ longest-serving drivers but has decided it is time to retire.
Colleagues gathered last week to mark his departure from the coach company and presented him with some Bristol Blue Glass, a four-day break for him and his daughter, and some vouchers.
After starting a Royal Navy apprenticeship in mechanical engineering in Devon, Dave drove quarry lorries for a number of years before getting his PSV licence and becoming a bus driver for 18 months.
While working nightshifts for an engineering firm in Clevedon, his wife saw an advertisement for a job at Wems Coaches, which was later acquired by Bakers Dolphin.
He said: “I’ve loved working on the coaches. Bakers Dolphin has been very good to everybody, especially during the past few years with the pandemic.
“It is just something I have really enjoyed doing.”
In his later years he spent most of his time on private hire and school runs, but in the past has done a number of holidays and tours.
He said: “I used to particularly like doing the day tours, to places like Weymouth and Paignton.
“There are lots of things I will miss about being on the coaches but I’ve got a few things lined up so I will be keeping myself busy.”
Amanda Harrington, Sales & Marketing Director at Bakers Dolphin, said: “For many people, coach driving isn’t just a job, it’s more like a way of life and we have many drivers like Dave, who simply love what they do.
“You’re not likely to do the same job for nearly 50 years if you didn’t enjoy it, and that satisfaction reflects on our passengers too, many of whom get to know our longer-serving drivers, like Dave.
“We have some regular customers who sometimes book a trip not just because of the destination but because it is being led by a driver they have come to know over the years, which adds to the ‘family feel’ of our business.
“I would like to thank Dave for his tremendous service to the company and our passengers over the many years he has been with us and wish him all the very best for his retirement.”