Bus drivers bring the Christmas spirit
It’s time of the year again when STA employees volunteer to spend many hours decking out buses at each depot with beautiful decorations, all in the name of bringing Christmas cheer to the travelling public.
These thoughtful and energetic volunteers use a successful combination of skill, artistry and imagination to turn our buses into a Christmas spectacular for everyone, drivers and passengers alike, to enjoy.
Hamilton bus driver, Margaret Pannell, who started decorating a Christmas bus back in 1996 says the response from the community has always been incredibly positive. In fact, it was the positive feedback from her passengers that eventually got STA on board to support the initiative.
“Before the depot started receiving calls of support for my bus, my manager used to say, “you are here to drive a bus Margaret, not make people happy. Now they provide us with funds to decorate the buses.”
Today, the buses are a popular end of year feature in communities right across Sydney and Newcastle. Divisional President Gary Way says the buses always cause the 131500 feedback line and depots to run hot with positive feedback once they start running on routes.
The colourful and somewhat magical presentation fascinate young and old travellers, but especially children, whose faces light up when these buses appear.
Helen Flory from Willoughby depot says drivers at her depot who have never experienced driving a Christmas bus are always pleasantly surprised. “They always come back and tell me they have driven my bus and everyone loved it. All the kids are always so happy to see you and people wave and smile from the street.”
“It goes to show that STA drivers will go that extra mile to provide a top quality service to commuters,” says Gary.
But it’s not just about the passengers. Competition between depots for the best decorated bus is deadly serious with the winner nominating a charity of their choice to receive prize money.
Last year the winner was Diane Taylor from Kingsgrove depot who set a standard that is going to be hard to surpass this year.
The depot donated their $500 prize to the Sydney Children’s Hospital.
Mr Way said he was sure the competition would produce some amazing results this year. “I’ve been chatting with some of the people responsible for decorating the buses and let me assure you the Christmas spirit is alive and well among RTBU members at Sydney and Newcastle Buses. I can’t wait to see them all”