Shifting the gear stick to park for the last time, Prince Albert bus driver Ted Cloarec retired from a 41-year career as a bus driver this week.
“I’m just a little apprehensive. I’m not sure what I’m going to miss,” he said at the Saskatchewan Transportation Company’s Prince Albert depot after making his final trip out east, to the Nipawin area.
Cloarec ended his career having clocked 2,078,523 kilometres on Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) bus odometers during his 35 years with the company. Until finishing his last trip on Thursday afternoon, he was ranked the STC driver with the most seniority.
Cloarec entered his career in the transportation industry at the age of 18, when he started driving school buses.
At 24, he took a job with the STC, where he remained for the next 35 years, preferring the STC buses over school buses.
“It’s great! I wouldn’t have been here this long if it wasn’t,” he said. “It’s the people I work with and the equipment I drive. It’s a beautiful machine to drive, it really is.”
One of the most enjoyable moments he recalls is transporting people with medical conditions.
“You get to know them quite well because you’re driving them back and forth every day,” he said.
“The guys can be quite comical about their trips, they learn to take it lightly and once you get to know them they’re not scared to talk about things or joke around.”
It’s the people I work with and the equipment I drive. It’s a beautiful machine to drive, it really is. - Saskatchewan Transportation Company bus driver Ted Cloarec on his love of the job
Other times can be trying, with a varied group of people loading on and off of busses, but the trick is staying patient.
“It’s a lot of patience, with your passengers and a lot of patience on the road,” he said. “You’ve got to have a lot of patience. You can’t rush things for safety’s sake.”
“We’re going to miss him. He’s a good guy,” customer service and operations manager Bob Bailey said.
Having worked with Cloarec for 17 years, Bailey said that his colleague has always been one to take things seriously, and to put in the extra bit of care and dedication.
“He was proud of the uniform and really proud of the company and the safety of the company,” Bailey said. “He’s one of those guys you could rely on. He was the eyes and ears of the company.”
Cloarec’s final day was one day prior to his 60th birthday, just as he’d planned.
“It’ll be one of few birthday days that I haven’t worked,” he said.
“I was going to make it my 60th — yup, my 60th. I’m not going to work on it. I’m done!”
Cloarec said that he plans on staying in the Prince Albert area. That is, when he’s not travelling around exploring Canada in his fifth wheel camper with his wife.