A bus driver’s last stop is announced across the fleet

Co-founder of Pickering - Polly Taylor

Digital displays on most of the bus company’s fleet, which normally provide destination information, read: ‘Happy Retirement Ken D’Souza’.

The retirement message was thanks to friend Daniel Hardcastle, a member of the engineering team, who is responsible for all the ‘destination blinds’ across all the Kent garages.

Daniel also arranged for vinyl stickers to mark Ken’s double-decker bus, and even brought his own – privately-owned – single decker to the depot on Thursday, with the celebratory signage.

On his final day, Ken’s duty sheet was handed over with out-of-the-ordinary ceremony by duty manager Andy Greenhead.

He also received a picture that will be displayed in the bus to mark his service at Arriva.

Daniel paid tribute to his friend publicly, tweeting: “One of the best drivers out there, a real credit to Arriva. Just wish more had his enthusiasm and customer focus; certainly a character. He will be missed by us for sure.”

Daniel told the Times: “I couldn’t let him leave without a fuss!”

An Arriva spokesman said: “He had been at Tunbridge Wells depot for nine years but had previously worked at Maidstone.

“He was a likable and very charismatic character, loved by all.”

Arriva buses connect Tunbridge Wells town centre with other villages in the borough as well as with Tonbridge and Maidstone. Bus routes serve both Tunbridge Wells Hospital in Pembury and Maidstone Hospital.

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