Tuesday, June 7, 2011

S.F. bus driver marks 40 years behind the wheel


She was 25, and Richard Nixon was president. A gallon of gas cost 40 cents, and the first four-function pocket calculator hit store shelves with a $345 price tag.

Four decades later, Donovan is still making the wheels of the big yellow bus go round and round along the crowded and hilly streets of San Francisco, having covered some half a million miles shuttling thousands of children safely to and from school.

It was a career she stumbled upon in the early years of racial integration in city schools.
"All of a sudden in September of '71, there were all these buses on the road and there were a lot of women driving," Donovan said.

The idea of driving 91 kids up and down San Francisco's hills in a stick-shift bus appealed to the then 25-year-old woman. She thought she'd give it a couple of years.
But two years quickly turned into 10, and 10 into 20, and 20 into 30.

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