Ask motorcoach drivers why they love their jobs, they are likely to give a wide range of reasons. A major benefit is that they get paid to travel to new places. Another is they enjoy meeting people from across the country and around the world. And some just like operating highly engineered vehicles that put an impressive control panel at their fingertips.
Here are some of the best answers we’ve heard from those featured in our popular From The Driver’s Seat series about what they love about their jobs.
Andrew Horton loves traveling to cool places. He spent the first 14 years of his 35 years career working in transit and the past 21 years in the motorcoach industry. Most recently, he worked for San Jose Charter in San Jose, California, for 1½ years. His favorite job perk is traveling to cool places.
“I can’t say enough about the travel, either. It is so cool to be able to go to places that I have never seen before and probably would never go on my own, such as Sedona, Calico Corners, Las Vegas and the Disney Museum,” Horton said.
Jamie Wiese began his commercial driver career at 18, when he was trained to drive a school bus in Willmar, Minnesota. From school bus, he transitioned to motorcoach driver, Wiese will mark his 10th anniversary in October driving for Ottertail Minn-Dakota Coaches. Wiese says his passengers are why he loves his job.
“The best tip I receive is always the smiles and laughter before, during and after a trip. The more people I meet, the more fun I have,” Wiese said.
An office with a view
Keith Ballinger has enjoyed the view from the driver’s seat for nearly 30 years. He’s currently a driver with Timi’s Tours in Moweaqua, in central Illinois. Previously, he drove for Sturgis Bus Company in Black Hills, South Dakota; Mountain View in Tucson, Arizona and Prairie Coach in Dell Rapids, South Dakota.
“I choose to do this work,” said Ballinger. “My office is a window to the world, allowing me to see the geography of North America. The people on the bus are my family. Just like the South Dakota slogan, “Great places, Great faces.”
‘A fun job’
For the past 15 years, Donna Hernandez has driven for Pacific Coachways in Garden Grove, California. It’s been a fulfilling career for this former stay-at-home mom.
“We get to share destinations that many people dream of visiting. It’s wonderful to hear their expressions as we pull up to Disneyland, the Hollywood sign, Santa Monica Pier, the Disney Concert Hall, and many other places. This is a fun job, I meet many great people, and take them to many great places, even if it’s just the parking lot of a great place,” Hernandez said.
Roosevelt “Rosie” Carey has enjoyed the view from the driver’s seat for 28 years. He is currently employed with Louisiana Motor Coach, based in Marrero, where he has worked for eight years.
“It’s the only job where you can take people on vacation and be on vacation, too,” says Carey. “In 2016, I spent three weeks in Canada with a large group of Cajun French from Lafayette, Louisiana. Collectively, they gave me my biggest tip of all — it was close to a month’s pay. It was a Catholic group trip with 33 passengers. Our three-week journey began in Lafayette and proceeded to Memphis, Tennessee, and Detroit before arriving at the Canadian border in Windsor. They appreciated how I went out of my way to give them a good experience.”
Exciting and challenging
Sandy Martinez has enjoyed the view from the driver’s seat for about 10 years. She lives in Southern California, about 15 minutes from Disneyland. She drives for Transportation Charter Services (TCS), out of their Orange location, and has been employed with the company since 2014.
“Being a motorcoach operator has been one of the most exciting — and at the same time the most challenging — occupations in my life. Being behind the wheel of these great big, beautiful machines is a rush, and the extra benefits of traveling and exploring the world while getting to meet people from around the world and taking them on what could be their trip of a lifetime — what could be better than that?”
Bryce Buderer, 24, has enjoyed the view from the driver’s seat since 2015. He became a student driver while attending the University of Toledo. Now, he works at Getaway Tours in Milan, Michigan.
“I love every bit of it. This industry is like no other. It’s my family. If it wasn’t for the people in this industry, I would probably not be here today. This is the biggest family in the work industry, because I know we all stick together through thick and thin,” Buderer said.
The ‘freedom’ of the job
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.
“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,” Henley said.
Dennis Farnum, VIP Tour & Charter Co. in Portland, Maine, appreciates being able to use his skills to support important causes. He has transported wreaths for Wreaths Across America to Arlington National Cemetery for several years.
“I have formed many rewarding friendships with many dear people; some days, it feels like a family reunion. It’s such an honor to be able to pay respects to fallen heroes. You get an unexplained feeling of reverence and sacredness as you enter those grounds,” Farnum said.
Read more about the experiences of motorcoach drivers in our From the Driver’s Seat series.