A long coach ride from Fareham to London is not everyone’s idea of a laugh – but the route has made one comedic coach driver a hit online.
Steve Small, 38, from Gosport, a Luckett’s coach driver on a National Express route from Fareham bus station to London Victoria, has found several of his tongue-in-cheek announcements on videos shared across social media.
The coach driver was using a safety announcement on a CD when he decided to make things ‘more interesting’ by doing it himself – with funny voices and jokes.
He said: ‘I saw people trudging on – they didn’t look happy, they weren’t listening to the safety announcement.
‘I thought I wanted to make a difference in their day.
‘So I started to tell a few jokes – and it evolved in to a faux-tour of the A3 full of rubbish facts.’
The former Royal Navy radar analyst said his time in the armed forces developed his ‘hangman’s humour,’ but he has now refined it for ‘general public consumption.’
He finds that ‘most people get into the spirit of things,’ with passengers between the age of 30 and 50 the most willing to enter into the spirit of things.
He channels the over-the-top voices of comedian Matt Berry and X-Factor announcer Peter Dixon to warn passengers they are in for a bumpy ride – before correcting himself and having everyone on board cheer as they enter the Hindhead tunnel.
He said: ‘I get everyone to cheer as we go through the Hindhead tunnel because they are becoming UK record breakers because it’s the longest tunnel in the country that doesn’t go underwater – it’s just rubbish facts I build up.
‘I try to put my spin on things to get cheering, and screaming – and hopefully laughing.’
Steve was initially oblivious to the fact passengers were recording his routine.
He said: ‘I was quite surprised to be honest.
‘I don’t think people have heard anything like it before from a coach driver, but I do it because it entertains me more than anything.
‘Everyone sounds silly at one time or another and being scared of sounding silly puts you off doing things.’
Thankfully for Steve, National Express welcomes him veering off course from the standard safety announcement.
Ed Rickard, Director at National Express UK Coach, said: ‘We are pleased to hear that Steve is providing a pleasurable National Express experience.
'In a day and age where the hustle and bustle of everyday life tends to take over, it’s nice to have someone make us smile.’
Oliver Ing, from Portsmouth, who recently shared a video of Steve on Twitter, said it was ‘the best welcome’ to a long coach trip.
He said: ‘He had us in stitches – it’s so nice to see someone going out of their way to cheer everyone up.
‘He brings a little bit of sunshine to every journey!’
The coach driver, who is a father of four, is the first to admit his joking about would qualify as ‘Dad humour’ – ‘but I hope my kids find me funny,’ he said.
He added: ‘My wife finds me funny – funny looking, maybe.’
Steve is now looking to get into voice-over work in his spare time.