You may only recognise the back of his head, but chances are if you’ve commuted from Drogheda to Dublin over the past four decades by bus, then Aidan Daly was at the wheel more than once!
The Ballsgrove man has just retired from Bus Eireann after 44 years, just a few years more than his Dad Patrick, who was also ‘on the buses’.
"I started back in 1977 when it was still CIE,” says Aidan with a laugh. “I got the job at 21 because of my dad, who is 97 now, and was a bus driver from 1947 to 1988.”
Many of Aidan’s colleagues, family members and friends gathered in O’Raghallaighs’s last week to say farewell to the driver, and wish him well on his new route.
"There weren’t as many there as would probably have liked to be, but sure we couldn’t stop all the buses for them to come!”, he quipped. “But as someone said in a little speech, we really are a family in Bus Eireann, and I don’t want to single anyone out for mention, as everyone I worked with over the years were great colleagues.”
Special guests of honour of course were his wife Breda, their three children and two grandchildren.
" I spent many years on the same routes – 28 years on the 7.25 to Dublin, and ten years doing the Drogheda, Navan, Trim route, so you do get to know everyone by name,” says Aidan. “It’s much different now on the roads to when I started – there was nowhere near as much traffic –but you had way more stops, at every hole in the wall, and no motorway or express services. The buses are definitely better too, and they’d never break down as much now!”
At his retirement evening, Aidan shared his three secrets to keeping his passengers happy over the 44 years.
"The first is to try and keep the job as easy as possible, secondly, treat the passengers as you would like them to treat you and lastly, if you can’t do someone a good turn, try your level best not to do a bad one,” he said. “If you stick to those, you can’t go too far wrong.”