AFTER five decades in the driver's seat, Daphne Schultz is still making sure children arrive safely at Jandowae State School.
Mrs Schultz has been the driver for the Bushgrove run since 1964 and has seen many children grow over the years.
"You really start to care for the children," she said. "You become very close to them."
During the 50 years, Mrs Schultz has driven generations of children from across the region into Jandowae.
"I've had plenty of second-generation kids but I've never been lucky enough to have a third generation," she said.
Although patronage on the run has decreased over the years, it is still supported by a core group of families.
"There used to be seven buses coming into Jandowae — now there are three," Mrs Schultz said. "Many of the families have moved off the farms on the run, due to the drought."
She said her passion for the bus route continued to be the children she kept safe.
"If the parents support you, it is a pleasure," Mrs Schultz said. "That is the thing about the one-bus operator — they really do care for the children. It becomes sort of a family."
Mrs Schultz said she had seen many changes to the region's road network during her five decades of service.
"There have been great improvements to the roads," she said. "It was all dirt roads when we started. It would start raining and we would get bogged. The roads are pretty good now."
Mrs Schultz hosted a celebration on Sunday to mark her 50th anniversary behind the wheel.
"I said to the boys I brought in years ago, I would have a big party when I retired," she said.
For now, Mrs Schultz will continue driving the route which has made her well-known around the town.
"I'll think about retiring after this year is over," she said.
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