Bus Driver & Coach Captain
Red Bus Services
Ray started working with The Entrance Red Bus Services in 1942. Due to a labour shortage Ray actually started at 12 years of age loading luggage onto the bus racks located on the roof of the buses. At the time most working people had two weeks holidays and because of its close proximity to Sydney, The Entrance was a very popular holiday destination.
At 13 he applied for the position of Junior Maintenance man, a job he worked at until he was 17 when he gained his bus drivers licence. At this time Ray met his future wife (June) driving her to school in the bus.
The Entrance Red Bus Services Depot was located in Denning Street at The Entrance and Ray and two other drivers lived in a tent opposite the depot, during these years there were no houses in sight of the depot, it was all camping area. Being a bus driver was one of the few permanent jobs in The Entrance as it was purely a holiday area with a lot of the shops closing for the winter period.
During his career with the company, as well as driving the local buses, Ray held a position as Coach Captain for over 30 years travelling all around Australia including 43 trips to Tasmania. The Red Bus Company was the first mainland company to operate coaches into Tasmania after the opening of the Ferry service with Roy Earl being the first coach driver and Ray Parsons the second.
Ray also ventured into acting, starring in a movie with Rod Taylor, well sort of, he appeared in a 15 second skit driving a bus at Wisemans Ferry. They wanted to use The Red Bus Company because the colour of the buses stood out so well.
In the 74 years that Ray has been with Red Bus Services he has seen the bus fleet grow from 7 buses to 99 buses, he has seen Wyong Road and The Entrance Road turn from dirt single lane goat tracks with a 15 mile an hour speed limit into multi lane main roads. He has seen The Entrance and surrounding suburbs grow from virtually nothing into the busy metropolis it is today.
In 2010 Ray was inducted onto the Shell Rimula Wall of Fame in the National Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs for his long time commitment to road transport.
During his employment with the company Ray has taken a photo of every bus that has joined the fleet, he is recognised as the company historian and can relate a story or the history of every bus the company has owned.
Ray has worked for four generations of the same family that have owned and operated The Entrance Red Bus Service with John Shore Snr being the Managing Director and his daughter Samantha McKenzie and John Shore Jnr controlling the current day to day operations of the company.
When asked, what is the secret of being a good bus driver for so long, he replies “It’s the sort of job where you have a liking for your fellow man, you wouldn’t last very long if you didn’t."
Unfortunately in 2015, Ray lost his best friend and lifelong companion June when she passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ray is highly respected and honoured by all the management and staff at Red Bus Services who listen intently to his history of the company, the buses and stories of the past that he tells.
The list of long serving employees with Red Bus Services is lengthy but those exceeding 25 years’ service include; Neville Ackerman, Ron Armitage (current), Bill Black, John Bourke (current), Les De Vaurno, Jim Del, Reg Etienne, Peter Fairey, Ed Godfrey, John Graham (current), Bo Graham, Ed Griffen, Leanne Griffiths (current), Ron Halliday, Sandra Jurec (current), Ken Kerr, Dick Kilner, Jim Maloney, Peter McCallum, Ray Parsons, John Parsons, James Pascoe (current), Brian Peebles (current), Ron Poli, Edward Prince, Laurie Rankin, Eddie Robson, Gordon Secombe, Jack Stephens, Robert Thurston (current), Christopher Wallace (current), Kevin Wren (current).