Andy Evered has been a bus driver with First Bus for almost 36 years. He was recently named the runner-up best driver in England and Wales at the bus industry’s prestigious Bus Driver of the Year awards.
Where do you live and what do you like about it? I’m Bath born and bred. All my family and friends live here. I live in the Oval – it’s a good house with all that you need … shops, transport, schools and good neighbours.
Why did you become a bus driver and why have you stuck fast to this profession? Driving buses means that you get out and about instead of being stuck indoors and you get to work with some good people. Shifts can be a pain, but I was one of the only fathers to be able to attend my children’s school events when they were young.
How did you feel when you discovered you had won the award for the second best driver in England and Wales at the Bus Driver of the Year Awards? It’s a good feeling when you do well and all your efforts and hard work pay off. Over 100 drivers took part on the day from all around the UK, but many more took part in the qualifying rounds.
The awards took place in Blackpool on the seafront. What did you have to do to prove your bus driving skills? The tests are challenging but fair – they include highway code, driving hours, driving regulations knowledge, in-service and off-road driving tests, working on a points system for each manoeuvre.
How many different routes have you driven? I have driven more routes than I can remember over the years.
How dramatically have the buses changed since you started 36 years ago? Buses are much more environmentally friendly than they used to be. There has been the change from cash to card, and the amount of cars, bikes and scooters on the road make the job much harder than it used to be.
Do you like to drive in your spare time, or do you spend enough time at the wheel? I like to drive, but the car is a tool to get me to the places that are out of the way – for example I like going hiking with my friend from work.
Tell us about a memorable moment in your career as a bus driver. A man got on my bus in Kingwood – very drunk and carrying a large holdall – and asked for two singles to Bath. When we arrived, he had gone to sleep and could not be woken. After about an hour we asked two policemen to help us remove him from the bus. When they checked his bag for ID they arrested him – he had robbed a post office and had gone out to celebrate (he was carrying about £10,000 and a very large gun). I was known as the slowest getaway driver for some time!
What are good qualities for a bus driver to have (apart from being good at driving)? Mostly lots of patience – it’s also important to have an enjoyable hobby away from the job.
What is Bath like as a city to drive around? Do you have a favourite part of the city? Bath can be difficult to get around, with its narrow streets, difficult parking and so many tourists enjoying our city. Alexandra Park is my favourite part of Bath, with its dramatic view of the city.
Is the First Bus bus-driving community a close-knit one? Have you made some close friends during your time there? There is always someone who will help you whatever your needs are. I have been lucky with the people I’ve met. I’ve got some good memories to look back on, with more to come, I hope.
What is your favourite kind of bus traveller? Chatty people, young children excited to travel on the bus, and older people with stories of their lives and what they did.