After 62 years Dennis Taylor from Paraparaumu is finally retiring from being a bus driver — well, not completely.

At 83 years of age Dennis has been made redundant from his position as a permanent part time driver for Mana Coach Services but is still on call.

Still able to remember the coach number of the first bus he ever drove, 2216, Dennis started driving buses for the New Zealand Railways Road Services in New Plymouth in January 1956 and has worked in the industry ever since.

He worked for them until May 1979 and then became the inspector for the Wellington area which extended from Gisborne down to Rotorua, New Plymouth and Greater Wellington.


Being an inspector Dennis's role involved a whole host of things included training up new drivers, disciplinary inspector and catching people who didn't pay for their ticket.

"He was known as the black tracker," said his wife Miriam.

"He used to catch people who didn't pay for their ticket.

"People were terrified of him."

After working as an inspector for many years Dennis then started his own bus company in Paraparaumu called Paraparaumu Road Services.

"We went from one bus to 11 buses," Dennis proudly said.

Owning the company for around 16 years Dennis has never had any desire to change occupations or work in a different industry.

"Meeting the people is the best part of the job.

"You get your ups and your downs but at the end of the day you can still go home.

"I just enjoy driving, being on the road.

"It's all part of the game."

Dennis sold Paraparaumu Road Services when he had to go into hospital for major surgery.

After years of driving a manual and shifting the clutch every day, Dennis's left thigh was giving out so he had to have surgery, getting a titanium rod and bolts inserted from his left hip to knee.

"I didn't know if I would be able to drive again.

"I couldn't expect anyone else to run the business for me.

"I couldn't rest my mind about someone else running it so we sold it."

Never in a million years would Dennis have dreamed of going to work for Mana Coach Services, their sworn opposition for so many years.

"Mana was our opposition, we always had them to deal with," Miriam said.

"He would never have dreamt that after we sold the business he would work for them.

"After surgery he couldn't sit around doing nothing.

"He'd go crazy.

"They offered him a job and they grabbed him and loved having him because of his expertise."

So for the last 10 or so years Dennis has been working for Mana driving around Kāpiti, becoming a well-known face in the community.

With "half the blimmin' town knowing him," he will be missed on the streets but will enjoy putting his feet up enjoying a well-earned break.