Dedicated driver Des clocks up more than 50 years on the buses in Leeds

Des McGee.
Des McGee.
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Harold Wilson was in 10 Downing Street, The Beatles released Rubber Soul and Leeds United reached their first ever FA Cup final.

The year was 1965 and a young man called Des McGee was just starting work as a conductor at Leeds’s Torre Road bus depot.

Des McGee, pictured at work in the 1980s.

Des McGee, pictured at work in the 1980s.

He made the step up to driver in 1968 – and, five decades later, 69-year-old Des is still happily earning a living on the buses.

Currently working two days a week behind the wheel of a double decker for transport firm First, he has now been given special recognition by his bosses for his 50-plus years of service to the industry.

And, in news that will be just the ticket for his regular passengers, he says he has no intention of hanging up his ignition key and uniform any time in the foreseeable future.

Des, who lives in Meanwood and is married with a grown-up son, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “I’m definitely hoping to keep on going as long as I am able to.

“It’s a job that’s interesting and I enjoy everything about it – you never know what’s about to happen.

“Every day is different and you never get bored. Meeting people, though, that’s what I like the most.”

Des is estimated to have clocked up 900,000 miles during his career, which for the most part has been spent driving Dewsbury Road services.

Asked for the biggest change he had seen since starting out, he chose the axing of conductors from the city’s buses in the 1980s.

Des, who moved to Leeds from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland in 1962 and still proudly retains his native accent, said: “It was quite hard at the time because the buses weren’t geared up to be one-man operations.

“That’s all changed now. The buses are almost perfect and the ticket machines are great, they definitely make life a lot easier.”

The long years put in by Des and a number of his colleagues were recognised during a ceremony held by First at the Hilton Hotel in Leeds.

Will Pearson, business manager for First Leeds, said: “We’re always delighted to celebrate the dedication and hard work of our staff.

He added: “In particular I’m very impressed with Desmond’s commitment to the people of Leeds in a job he really enjoys and we’re proud to share his fantastic achievement.”