Congratulations to Tim Catic who has been making the wheels go round on the Hop, Skip & Jump bus service for a decade.
The community bus service has been operating seven days a week since 2004 providing a free service to the community through the suburbs of Manly, Fairlight, Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights, Clontarf and Seaforth and recently Manly Vale. Four routes operate Monday to Friday and three routes on weekends.
Mr Catic came to Australia from Belgrade in Serbia where he worked in the TV industry. When he arrived in Australia it was difficult to find a similar role and an income which sustained his living expenses in Australia so he changed careers and got into the hospitality industry.
Some 20-years ago when travelling on a State Transit bus, a poster stuck to the back of the driver’s seat seeking new bus drivers caught Tim’s eye.
Tim applied, got the job and after completing the necessary training he became a qualified bus driver. In 2008, following almost six years at the helm, an opportunity arose to work for Manly Council as one of bus drivers on the already popular Hop, Skip & Jump service.
After almost 10 years, Tim’s enthusiasm for the job is showing no sign of waning.
When asked if he faced any challenges in his role Tim said: “Challenges? Yes! We face challenges every single day. As a bus driver I am responsible for the safety of people behind me. I try to make their trip as comfortable as possible.
“Heavy traffic and the occasional demanding or difficult passenger can be a challenge.
“But with the bad comes the good. Hop Skip and Jump has an amazing crew. A bunch of drivers who are real friends and work together.
Tim was surprisingly tight-lipped when asked whether he had any interesting stories to tell, only to say: “I’ve seen many friendships formed on the buses over the years and I’ve even seen people fall in love; there have been a few punches exchanged, but only a couple of times, thankfully!”
Mr Catic said one of the most important aspects of the Hop, Skip & Jump Bus Service is that it promotes social inclusion by connecting people and giving people the opportunities to get to work, services and social events. The service is committed to ensuring nobody is left excluded from society through providing transport that is available, accessible, affordable and acceptable.
“On occasions, the drivers identify vulnerable community members that need assistance and support to achieve a good quality of life. We happily refer these people to local service providers for assistance.,” he said.
When not working, his favourite past time is spending time with his family – his wife Boya, his two beautiful daughters, Katarina and “our spoiled brat” Lidija and “the two most beautiful grandsons” Nikola and Damijan. Tim says spending time with them is like a “Happy Hour” for him as “they are my life!”
And humble to a fault, when asked what effect he has had as a driver with the service, he chose to focus on the positive impact of others.
“Thank you to all the wonderful people I have met and worked with who have made my life better and happier for the past 10 years. It makes me very proud. Love to you all!”
Interestingly, the Hop, Skip Jump service has some amazing statistics including:
- 19,000 trips a year (approximately)
- 400,000 passengers a year
- And has moved an astonishing 4.5 million passengers in total over the 12 years it has served the community.
For more information about the service and to view the timetable visit northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au