Plymouth bus depot controller Robert celebrates 20 years behind the wheel

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A bus depot controller from Plymouth was honoured for an impressive 20 years of commitment to the Plymouth community at a recent long-service awards ceremony.

Robert Stonehouse has worked for Stagecoach bus since 2003 started his career as a leading driver based in Plymouth and is now a full-time controller office in Chelson Meadow in Plymstock. 

In his role as a depot controller, Robert oversees the intricacies of the entire Stagecoach bus network in Plymouth, operating from the control room. His responsibilities include ensuring the efficient deployment of buses across the city through a meticulous tracking system. From managing breakdowns to addressing driver issues, Robert’s dedication plays a pivotal role in maintaining the seamless operation of vehicles to keep the Plymouth bus network running as smoothly as possible.

Reflecting on his two-decade journey with Stagecoach, Robert expressed his deep connection to Plymouth: “I am a Plymouth person; I love it here. We are so lucky to drive buses in this picturesque part of the world from the moors to the seafronts. The team I work with are some of the best drivers around and like an extension of my own family. I have stayed at Stagecoach for such a long time as I am one of those people who does love their job, and so it’s nice to get rewarded for long service.”

Robert’s extensive experience and commitment were evident during the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. As he recounted, “Obviously in my 20 years here, Covid was one of our biggest challenges. The control team had a huge job, but we kept working, making sure we were keeping the people of Plymouth safe.”

Throughout his career, Robert Stonehouse has worked his way up through the ranks of the business, accumulating a wealth of memorable moments and encounters with the diverse characters of Plymouth.

Stagecoach employees from across the South West including Exeter, Plymouth, Barnstaple and Torquay have been recognised for their loyal service and commitment to passenger transport at a special ceremony.

Since 1996, Stagecoach South West has been operating services across Devon and into Cornwall and Somerset. This year, 56 long-serving staff were acknowledged after accumulating an impressive 1,178 years of service between them, and each one was recognised for their hard work and commitment over the years at a celebration dinner and awards ceremony at Sandy Park, Exeter.

Amongst the employees celebrating milestones, some over 45 years, were bus drivers, engineers, administration, management, and Director staff. The evening featured a dinner followed by presentations hosted by former radio presenter and transport enthusiast Dave Sheppard.

Stagecoach South West Managing Director Peter Knight said “It was fantastic to come together on the evening to honour our long serving employees who have remained dedicated to connecting people and communities. Over the past 12 months we’ve operated over 14 million miles and carried over 24 million customers – it’s not lost on me the size and scale of what we do everyday in rain, shine, snow and everything else in between and it is important for our teams to know that everything they do for the business and the communities we serve doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Stagecoach South West is one of the largest bus operators in the UK, with a fleet of over 400 buses and coaches serving more than 100 routes across the region