A beloved bus driver for Abbots Langley and Watford picked up more than just his passengers last month – he also took home an award for his fantastic service to the community.
Pete Gilbert, who drives the 318 bus from Abbots to Watford, won the Public Service Award at Watford Borough Council’s (WBC) Audientor Awards on Friday, October 11.
The award seeks to recognise anyone in public services who has given back to the local community, whether it’s a teacher, police officer, firefighter or, in this case, a bus driver.
Pete is from Wembley, but describes Abbots as “home”.
He won the award for his kindness and genuine interest in his passengers’ wellbeing and comfort – he is known for adapting his route slightly to help less able residents get to and from their destinations easily.
Speaking to AbbotsNews, the 47-year-old said: “I’m just so thankful for being voted for and for all the support people have given. I cannot explain how grateful I really am.
“I’ve been driving the 318 for 13 years now, so I know all the passengers, I’ve watched the kids grow up and I know who all my older passengers are and what their schedules are like. I’ll wait for them if they’re running slightly late or check up on them if they don’t turn up.
“I drove in London for four years before this and it’s just not the same – you don’t get to know people or form relationships and the people aren’t as friendly. The Abbots and Watford community are incredibly kind.”
Speaking about the Audientor Awards night, he said: “It was amazing to be there with my two daughters, my mum and my partner. We had a really fun night and a shock when I won it.”
A WBC spokesperson said of the award winner: “Pete is a long serving bus driver of the 318 bus. He has been described as unfailingly kind, attentive, full of cheerfulness and concern by his regular passengers.
“Pete is known for sharing a joke, worrying if passengers aren’t on their ‘usual’ bus, always up for a chat and decorating his bus at Christmas. For those less able he will drop them off nearer to where they need to be, pick them up along the way or simply wait at the stop a few minutes more so they don’t miss his bus.”
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “One of the things that always strikes me is the number of people in our town who go above and beyond to do their bit for the community. This evening was our way of saying thanks to those unsung heroes in the town and the many hours of their time to Watford.”