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Local school bus driver hangs up keys after more than 50 years of service

February 13, 2020   ·   0 Comments

Percy Fraser is a familiar figure to many children in Aurora.

The 83-year-old has been driving the school bus route for three schools in Town, and is retiring this week.

“I’ve been driving school buses for over 50 years, in different locations. I did it part-time for a while but once I retired as a paramedic, I began driving full-time,” said the sprightly senior who believes that age is just a matter of the mind.

“I love driving and I like the kids. The kids keep you young.”

Fraser recalls driving school buses in the late 1950s when there were no red lights on top of the bus or the stop sign arm on the driver’s side.

“We used to pull off the road onto the shoulder or a parking lot or a gas station, and kids had to walk from there. We would [see] kids almost getting hit all the time. It’s much better now in terms of safety, but still not good enough because so many people run through the red lights and aren’t stopping for the bus,” he said.

Fraser would start his day at 7.20 a.m. and get a couple hours off after finishing the morning run. “I start again at 1.30 p.m. and call it a day around 5 p.m., by the time I reach my house in Sutton,” he said, admitting that he is going to be bored now that he is retiring.

“My wife passed away, so it’s just my dog and me. I have ‘retired’ five times already but could only stay off for three months each time,” he said, laughing.

He hopes to still occasionally drive seniors around and also go to Alberta to visit his daughter and spend time with his great grandchildren.

Having driven generations of kids around Ontario, Fraser enjoys their company.

“You do get the odd rambunctious kid, but usually most of them are well-behaved. You have to treat them the way you want to be treated,” he said, recommending bus driving especially to mothers who are home with their children. “Bus companies are always looking for good drivers. You can make anywhere from $300-$400 a week and you only work for a couple hours in the morning and afternoons. More people should be trying to get in, and it’s ideal for mothers because they can bring their children on the bus.”

The father of four wouldn’t retire if it weren’t for his ageing body. “My mind is still young but my body is getting old. My eyesight and hearing isn’t as good as it used to be. You’re holding a precious cargo when you drive a school bus and it’s not a place to be taking chances with.”

By Kinjal Dagli Shah



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