Joanne Gourley is heading into retirement after working as a bus driver for 25 years. Photo Laura McKee / The Observer
Joanne Gourley is heading into retirement after working as a bus driver for 25 years. Photo Laura McKee / The Observer Laura McKee

Joanne’s bus journey ends but memories last forever

JOANNE Gourley wouldn't have believed you 25 years ago if you said she would end up a bus driver.

But today, she couldn't think of a better way to have spent her days.

The mother and grandmother is finishing up as a bus driver at St Stephen's Lutheran College after seven years on Friday.

She did the Mt Larcom and Ambrose run each morning and afternoon.

Mrs Gourley originally wanted to become an air hostess but took up cleaning with Buslink almost 25 years ago instead.

"I was a cleaner for nine years and I was terrified of the big buses," she laughed.

"I would only ever drive them in the yard but they (colleagues) tricked me into driving.

"I got my small bus licence and graduated from that then I drove 50-seat buses."

Mrs Gourley worked as a bus driver for nine years, doing school runs with Toolooa, Chanel and Clinton schools as well as industry tours.

She has transported hundreds of school children around the region and said they were the best kind of customers.

"The kids are great and I will miss them," she said, tearing up.

"They are polite and always say good morning and afternoon and thank you.

"Some kids I drive now I drove their parents on the bus."

Did you take a bus to school?

This poll ended on 30 June 2015.

Current Results

Yes, it was too far to walk/ride.

0%

Yes I had to - I'd sit at the back row with my friends.

0%

No, I rode/walked or got a lift.

71%

Yes, but my bus driver wasn't as lovely as Joanne.

28%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Mrs Gourley said she has only had to suspend four students during her whole time as a driver for behavioural issues.

She said the bus trips each day were a lot of fun.

"I always deck out the bus at Christmas with decorations," she said. "When it gets too loud I just say 'quieten down everyone' and my mother instinct comes out."

In being a successful bus driver Mrs Gourley said she had two tips.

"You have to remember you have a big responsibility driving other people's children so watch out for trucks and if you treat the students with respect, you will get it back," she said.

Mrs Gourley said she was looking forward to retirement, spending more time with her family and in the garden.



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