Driving double-decker was a childhood dream realised

Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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As tens of thousands of people headed for Seaclose Park in Newport, excited at seeing the likes of Bon Jovi, The Killers, Stone Roses and more at the Isle of Wight Festival, I was going in the same direction.

But my excitement was because I was getting behind the wheel of an 11-tonne Volvo double-decker bus.

What a strange boy I am. Now I’ve got my full passenger driving licence, I helped out Southern Vectis who need 60 extra drivers come festival time.

Clocking on at 6pm, it was rather quiet. I was doing trips to the ferry ports with only a handful of people on board.

But then after the main acts played, throngs of people arrived at the specially-made bus station in a field!

I have a friend who loves his Vespa scooter and takes it out on rallies.

I have another friend who loves vintage cars and a third who works on the island’s steam railway.

My vehicular passion is buses. Not as cool, I admit, but just as fascinating.

This was my first experience of driving in service on my own and the responsibility of handling fares and looking after passengers.

It still surprises me how a train driver earns twice as much as a bus driver when you stop to consider all the aspects of their work.

Fortunately, passengers had a sunny disposition and warmed to me. It was festival time, so they were happy and often drunk.

Singing, laughing and then snoring were the order of the day.

I had a broad smile on my face heading to Cowes with a standing load, opening my cab window to get some relief from the smell of booze and body odour from the great unwashed on board.

I found that not all bus drivers are grumpy, but I’ve worked out what makes some of them so. Us passengers!

Some drivers don’t help either, with their impatience and lack of forward planning.

For me, this was another childhood dream realised. Driving a bus in service in now ticked off the list and what a fantastic experience it was.

Now, what next? Ah yes, a fireman and an astronaut! A bit more difficult, I think.