Tributes paid to Bulwell bus driver who has retired after 37 years with Nottingham City Transport
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Philip Howard started out with NCT in February 1986 and worked as a driver throughout his career, initially as a spare driver before moving onto the Bilborough and Aspley roster.
Since 2010, Phil has worked the Bulwell roster on services 68 and 69.
Phil stated “There’s no doubt that the shift work is not easy, but there were many aspects to the job that are most enjoyable.
"In particular, NCT has always had a reputation for operating a modern state-of-the-art fleet, and I’ve always relished getting my hands on the latest buses and trying them out.
"The last 37 years have really flashed by in what feels like 37 seconds.”
Phil and his partner Christine have also been the proud owners of two former NCT buses.
In 1991 they acquired an AEC Regent dating from 1954, and they were also the owners of an electrically-powered Nottingham trolleybus for 47 year until donating it last year to the East Anglian Transport Museum.
Phil’s trolleybus was displayed in Nottingham’s Old Market Square in September 1978 as part of NCTs centenary celebrations, and again in 2018 to commemorate the company’s 140th anniversary.
Although Phil retired in September, he was invited back last month by NCT’s managing director David Astill to receive his retirement certificate and have a drive of the latest electric double-decker that NCT currently has on trial.
David explained: “We wanted to recognise Philip’s 37 years of service to the company.
"He and Christine have been very kind in donating their trolleybus to NCT on two major occasions and we thought it only fitting that the last NCT bus he should drive should be a new electric one.
Having driven the modern electric bus on the former trolleybus route between Queen Street and Sherwood Rise and Nottingham Road, Phil gave a glowing endorsement.
He said: “The new electric bus is even better to drive that I imagined but, of course, I’ve got to say it is nearly as good as a trolleybus.
“I always hoped that one day, electric buses would return to the NCT fleet, and I’m delighted that I’ve had the opportunity to drive one today right at the very end of my career.”