Drivers swap school run for Olympics

The First Travel drivers who volunteered their services at the Olympic Games
The First Travel drivers who volunteered their services at the Olympic Games

A Halifax bus driver who spent two weeks working in London during the Olympics has spoken of his pride at being involved in the Games.

Ray Ogilvie, 65, and nine colleagues from First Travel, were selected to be part of the team of drivers who transported Olympic fans between the ExCeL Arena and the Olympic Park.

Ray, who has over 40 years experience of driving, usually drives school buses but decided to take a once in a lifetime opportunity to be part of the event.

“I wanted to go down for the experience really,” said Ray.

“I was one of the last to apply for a place but I was lucky enough to be accepted.”

Ray and his fellow drivers worked every day for the duration of the Olympics - with the crew split into day shifts and night shifts.

“It was good, I enjoyed it,” he said. “I would definitely do it again, although the 4am starts were hard work.”

Despite his many years of driving, Ray and his colleagues had to undertake a day of training when they arrived at the Games.

“It was all about making sure that the customer has everything they need and being as helpful as we can, which we are anyway,” he said.

And, as Ray found out, that often meant posing for the camera.

“They said that whatever the customer wanted, we had to provide, which we did,” he said.

“Lots of people who travelled on the bus wanted a photograph of me with them in front of the bus, so I obliged. My photograph must be all over the world by now.”

As expected, London driving also proved very difficult to life on the school run in Calderdale.

“It’s a completely different way of driving,” he said. “People will just cut you up and you’ve got to be on the ball at every moment.”