Peter Ball will reflect on his career on Bendigo's buses when he celebrates his 50th anniversary at Christians Bus Company on Friday.
The 74-year-old began his Bendigo career in 1969 when he moved to the region for his wife and began working at Walkers Bus Services, which was taken over by Christians in 2009.
Starting his transport career as a mechanic and driver in Melbourne in 1964, Mr Ball said he had always focused on providing the best service he could.
"It's been all about service I've done and (making sure) people are satisfied, that's the main thing," he said. "You need to give customer what they expect to the best of your ability.
"You come to work each day and go home and feel the pleasure of achievement that you've done the job and people are satisfied.
"We have 114 staff (at Christians), they're a handful and a half but the whole thing is run like a family company, which it is, and we run staff like family.
"Mainly, I keep coming back for the satisfaction of doing something for someone whether its a customer, staff or the company itself."
Mr Ball has seen Bendigo's transit system evolve over 50 years.
"When I first started with Walkers we had three buses," he said. "As the trams went from Bendigo, we took over and expanded from there. We also did a lot of tours around the country.
"By time we got to the mid-80s we had about 40 buses. I ran Walkers from about 1982 until 10 years ago when (Christians took over)."
Working as a mechanic and bus driver sounded like a good thing for Mr Ball when he began his career in Melbourne in 1964.
"I was working on a farm in Manangatang and saw a job advertised with Australia Pacific as a school bus driver and mechanic. It sounded like a good thing so I applied for it," he said.
"I'd been a bit of a wild boy but always have been mechanically minded. I was into cars and racing hot rods.
"I was in Melbourne for about four years and met my wife who came from Bendigo. She wasn't moving to Melbourne, so I moved to Bendigo and started with Walkers."
But Mr Ball's relationship with buses began at 11 in dramatic circumstances.
An incident with a bus in Melbourne left him with two broken legs and in hospital for almost a year.
"When I was 11, I was on a bus in Melbourne, in Ivanhoe. I was coming home from school on a fully-loaded old Bedford bus," Mr Ball said.
"An old lady in the back wanted to get off and with one door, everybody had to pile off the bus. She gets off and we all piled back on.
"About the fifth-last kid to get on yells to the driver 'She's right, away we go! That's what usually happened and the last two or three people would run along the side of the bus, grab the rails and jump on the step.
"That was the way you caught the bus, except I missed the step. I jumped and went straight down and underneath. The back wheels went straight over the top my legs, smashed them to pieces.
"After four months, the doctors said my legs hadn't knitted properly and had to break them again to reset them. So I was out of action for about 12 months."
Mr Ball's didn't end there. A year after leaving hospital, he found himself on the same bus at the same corner.
"You'd never believe it. A year after I got back to school, I was in the same bus, on the same corner when a car came out of nowhere and hit the bus, which then hit a lamp post," he said.
"I was sitting in the middle of the back seat with almost no one else on the bus and was cartwheeled up the bus.
"(After) landing spread-eagle on the dashboard, I couldn't walk again for another three months. In hospital they found I had dislodged nerves and I had to learn to walk again.
"The same bus, the same corner, two years later. Bang."
The irony of then having a career on the buses is not lost on Mr Ball. But he says buses are a lot better for passengers now.
"The advances in buses over last 50 years been unreal," he said. "They used to have manual buses with no power steering and the drivers were flat out trying to drive the bus in early '70s, never mind trying to look after passengers.
"Now the way industry has trended, buses are so friendly to the driver, that they have time to do the things that passengers expect.
"I will still jump in on a school run if we are short of drivers. I'm not slowing down. "Everyone says 'what are you going to do now?', well the same thing. Why should I retire? If I do retire I can only cut the lawn so many times a week."
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