A SOMPTING bus driver who has retired after 28 years service says he will miss the passengers that made his job rewarding.
Pete Dorè will be familiar to Compass Travel users as he has worked on the number 8 service from Worthing to Ferring for the last eight years.
He completed his last journey on Thursday, August 14, when he received a leaving gift of a £50 HMV gift voucher, cards and singing from passengers.
Mr Dorè, 65, of Roman Walk, Sompting, started his working life in engineering then moved to London Transport.
After moving to West Sussex with his wife Eileen in 1989, he joined Southdown, then Stagecoach and finally Compass Travel in 2003.
Mr Dorè said: “At first I worked as a driver, then I became a revenue inspector before running a depot in Hickstead.
“I came back to Worthing after a couple of years and started on the number 8 route. I liked it a great deal.
“The job has always appealed to me because I have always got on well with people.
“It is the sort of job where you have to be friendly and talk to people, if you do not like members of the public, then it is not the job for you.
“I have always made it a priority to get to know the passengers, to learn their names and where they lived and important events that were happening in their lives.
“Years ago the bus service was all about the personal touch and I think that is what people like and respond to.
“I think that people have appreciated the efforts that I have put in and that is the rewarding part of the job for me.
“We have some banter and it is great fun. I am a friendly face for people and it is these relationships that you can never build up when working for a larger company.
“The number 8 was such a well used service that Compass ended up putting a second bus, 8a, on the route.”
Mr Dorè says he will spend more time visiting friends, gardening and working on his steam railway hobby in retirement.
“I will certainly miss all the passengers,” he said. “The cards and gifts that I got on Thursday were quite overwhelming.
“People are so kind- when I was in hospital after having a heart attack in 2011 I got lots of well wishes from passengers. It means a lot.”
Passenger Kevin Frackleton said: “Tears rolled down passengers’ faces as they neared the Goring shops bus stop. Others waiting at the bus stop were taken aback at the cheers and applause when passengers alighted and one remarked to a bystander, ‘That’s what we think of our marvellous driver.”