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Galway bus driver is Best in the West!

Galway bus driver Conor MacDermott has been named the ‘Best in the West’ by his employer Bus Éireann.

The national bus company said the Tuam native, who lives in Annaghdown, goes the extra mile for customers.

The 62-year-old has only been a driver with Bus Éireann since March 2019 but the award was “testament to his character, professionalism, and collaboration with colleagues”.

Management added he was “an all-round great guy whose professionalism and compassion towards his passengers makes him invaluable to the organisation.”

Conor used to drive trucks for Iggy Madden, and before that was a chef. But the kitchen work had long-hours and split shifts, and the truck driving involved long days and nights away from home.

“After three years my wife Connie got fed up; she said, ‘if you don’t give that up you can move out!’,” he joked.

Conor secured a bus licence and job with Bus Éireann and has enjoyed the career change on the mixed Expressway routes including return trips from Galway to Cork, Sligo, Ballina, and Cavan.

“I love it. You’re home every night. It’s much more sociable hours than the trucking or kitchen.

“On the Expressway the customers are lovely. I really like meeting customers and having a bit of a chat with them. I like long drives on open roads, rather than in a city going around in circles and traffic and people getting stressed with you,” he said.

Conor wasn’t officially told why he’d won, but suspects customer feedback through letters and social media compliments helped.

He recalled one incident of recovering a lost hat for a Ukrainian mother and daughter that was left on a bus from Shannon Airport. The hat had sentimental value as it was given to the girl by her father who was still at home due to the war.

“It was one small incident. It meant a lot to them,” he said.

Other Galway winners included Kirsty Donnelly (Clerical Staff Member of the Year), Peter Melia (Executive Staff Member of the Year), and Brian Walsh and Pauric Brogan (joint Going Green Energy Award).

They were treated to lunch and drinks at the award ceremony in Galmont Hotel.

“It was a lovely surprise – and I got a pen!” added Conor.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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