Josh Henley has enjoyed the view from the driver’s seat since 2003. He has driven for Gaten’s Adventures Unlimited in Hammond, Louisiana, since 2016. He previously drove for First Class Tours and Tucker Charter, both in Houston, Texas.
Henley is also an administrator of the Facebook group Professional Motorcoach Operators, which has 4,900 members. He’s carried over the secrets he learned while driving limousines to his motorcoach work. Maybe that commitment to customer service helped him find his true love while driving a diamond tour.
Bus & Motorcoach News caught up with Henley to talk to him about why he loves driving a motorcoach, his career highs and lows, and his passion for the business.
What’s the biggest tip you received and the story behind it?
The biggest tip I received was $1,400. I did a 10-day diamond tour with a group out of Houston all the way to Key West, Florida. It was a really great trip. I made sure they enjoyed themselves even though they spoke Spanish and I didn’t.
Your strangest or most bizarre group you’ve driven?
I had a group on a party bus. One person puked right on the backseat of the bus. The group was very rowdy and very fun at the same time.
What’s your go-to phrase?
I tell people, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride and let me do the rest.”
How did you become a driver?
As a kid, it was always my dream to be a charter bus driver, a limousine driver, a truck driver, and also to sail a boat and fly a plane. I’m just really following my dream. I had uncles who drove trucks. I was in the transportation industry before I was grown, so I just followed my dream. This is something I love. I never wanted anyone to stand over me and boss me around and tell me what to do, so I feel like the transportation industry was the best industry for me to be a part of. I can just get my paperwork, and they tell me to go ahead and go, and I’m on my own. I love the freedom of it.
What are your previous careers?
I’ve been a professional musician since 1999, when I began playing drums professionally at age 19. I play all kinds of music and have my own band, Tha Right Touch Band.
How many miles or states have you driven a bus?
I’ve driven more than a million miles in a bus. I’ve driven through every state except Hawaii and Alaska.
What’s your favorite and/or least favorite destination and why?
I love Atlanta. Georgia is a very nice state to visit, and the city’s nice, too. There’s a lot of history and great food. My least favorite is New York City, because there’s too much traffic and parking is hard to find. After I did my last charter trip there in 2017, I said that is the last time I go back again in a bus.
From your perspective in the driver’s seat, what’s your favorite bus feature?
The driver’s area. I feel like I’m in control of a lot of stuff.
The best compliment you’ve received?
That I’m a great professional motorcoach operator, and they love my red carpet. I believe in giving my clients red-carpet service. So, when I get to my pickup, I roll out the red carpet so that they can feel great. They feel like somebody special. I brought limousine industry practices over to the motorcoach industry, including providing first-class service.
What’s your funniest travel story?
I was working in Houston and found out I had a trip going out of Shreveport, Louisiana. My boss said, “You might as well just go ahead and turn in your keys now because, once you get to Shreveport, you are going to find your wife and you won’t be coming back to Houston.” I told him I’m wasn’t looking for a wife. But, lo and behold, I ended up getting a wife off that Shreveport trip. Her name is Latriss, and she likes to travel. Sometimes, she’ll come along on college football trips but follows behind in her car. She doesn’t ride on the bus because I don’t want customers to feel uncomfortable.
What’s your best piece of advice for a newbie?
Don’t fall in love with the industry. You can get so caught up in it that you forget about your family. You’re on the road all the time, so you miss a lot of stuff with your kids, like school events, because you’re out taking care of other people. That’s good, but we tend as drivers to fall in love with it and we forget about home.
What’s your favorite bus to drive and why?
I love Prevost motorcoaches because they ride like a Rolls-Royce.
What’s your career highlight?
My friend William started a Facebook group, Professional Motorcoach Operators, and asked me to be the admin. It’s extra fun to be in tune with all the drivers and operating a page like that, where drivers can share something with each other. It feels good to be a part of that. I believe in helping others as much as I can. I do take pride in the industry. One person can make us all look bad, so what we need to try to do, as professional operators, is help others to be great all the time.
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If you are a motorcoach driver and would like to be featured in From the Driver’s Seat, contact Shandra Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org.