Looking back to what you did at age 16 is often a cringe-inducing exercise. From acid wash jeans to bad haircuts, there are plenty of decisions we don’t wish to replicate. But while David Twiddy may have upgraded his style since 1986, one thing is still as beloved today as it was in high school – Dare County bus #1. Nearly 30 years after first taking the wheel, David – now Transportation Director for Dare County Schools in North Carolina – has brought back the #1 bus to the same route he drove as a student; albeit with a few upgrades.
We recently sat down with David to discuss what it’s like going from student bus driver to Transportation Director.
Tell me about your experience as a 16-year-old bus driver. How did you get that job?
Back in 1986, you only had to be 16 and a half to be a bus driver. They encouraged students to take on routes in their home areas, where they knew the roads. I took a 3-4 day class to get certified, and shortly after finishing the class I got a call from an assistant principal asking if I wanted a route. So every morning I would get up early, perform an inspection of my bus, and then pick up students in East Lake and take them to school in Manteo.
What is the significance of the #1 bus for you?
Bus #1 actually has a bit of a history with my family. When I was in kindergarten, my oldest brother was a senior in high school and took over as the driver of the #1. A few years later, my next brother took on the #1 route. A few more years and my next brother started to drive. So by the time I took over in ‘86, the #1 bus was a bit of a staple in my family.
And how have you brought back the #1 to Dare County?
After graduating high school, I took a job working in the garage for Dare County, driving the fuel truck. Since my mornings filling up the buses with fuel, I have spent the last 15 years as the Transportation Director for Dare County. For a while, you were not allowed to repeat bus numbers, so the #1 was gone from my original route for several years. However that rule was recently changed, allowing the Transportation Director to determine the numbers for buses. When the time came to purchase a new fleet, I knew that it was time to bring the #1 back to the coast. So when we placed our order with Carolina Thomas, I requested that one of our Saf-T-Liner C2s be emblazoned with the #1, knowing it would once again carry students from East Lake to Manteo.
How long have you been working with Carolina Thomas?
In my 15 years as Transportation Director, I’ve never even given a thought to working with another company. Carolina Thomas sells the best buses, built right here in North Carolina, and offers the best service down the road, bar none. And I know that no matter what happens, their team is always just a call or email away. From salesmen, to the techs, to the General Manager, you won’t find a better company to work with.
What was it like being behind the wheel of the #1 bus again?
It was awesome. When I first took the job as a 16 year old, I knew that I had a significant responsibility to keep those kids safe. And nearly 30 years later, it still brings me pride to know that I have the privilege of taking care of the students of Dare County. As we came across the bridge on our way back from picking up these new buses, it was special to know that the #1 bus would never leave Dare County again.
Do you have a bus story you want to share?
Whether riding to school in the morning, to the big game, or on a field trip, there are a lot of memories created in the seats of a school bus. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Visit our Facebook page and let us hear your story.