I quite often get asked “I don’t know how you can do it”. The answer is rather simple, if you have a co-driver whom you can trust with your life and have an office with the most spectacular views that are always changing, then the job as a coach driver for Integrity Coachlines is simple.
My name is Karin and my co-driver is Shane. This job is not about me, it is about ‘us’ as I cannot do this job without my co-driver Shane. I rely on Shane to do my job well and I am sure he relies on me to do the same.
We both liken our driving relationship as ‘Yin and Yang’ and it works well for us. We know who is Yin and Yang.
(Photo: Shane and Karin at Nanutarra Roadhouse)
We leave Perth on a Sunday night at 7.00pm and arrive back in Perth on Wednesday morning at approx 6.30am and drop off our passengers in Wellington St. Shane and I operate the ‘circuit route’ from Perth to Port Hedland via Paraburdoo and Tom Price stopping off for a quick shower at Auski Roadhouse(Munjina) on the Great Northern Highway. Once we re-fuel at Port Hedland we start our journey back to Perth.
Yes there are times when Shane and I gripe at each other due to living in closed quarters for 60 hours straight. But we both know that this is typically human nature and we do deal with it in our way and address it. Thank god for the bunk lol. (Ed note: The bunk is a dedicated sleeping compartment on the coach, where one driver sleeps while the other drives, so when they say “Thank God for the bunk”, it means they can get away from each other for awhile!). Our attitude and honesty with each other is what has kept us strong in this job.
(Photo: Drivers, Karin and Shane with Frank from Jurien Bay Caltex Roadhouse)
This job is not for everyone as you need to be able to rest and sleep in a bunk at the rear of the coach and this happens at 2.5 to 3 hour intervals. We drive through the night listening to music, podcasts and sports radio. Our priority is to deliver customers safely to their destination without interruption in their travel. Customer service is paramount and Shane and myself know that we have done our job when the customer is happy.
We get to meet some fantastic people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds.
My most memorable sights from my office window are the dust storms and my excitement as I approach them. Just to see, and thats it..… just see, and be protected by the coach as I drive through. The cotton ball cloud you see in a clear sky and has a lightning show inside, the ‘sleeping elephant’ (Mt Murray 255m) as you approach Nanutarra Roadhouse. Oh, the light of the moon rules all that I see. The colours, size and distance we see all year round is absolutely spectacular. The passengers love this and I smile, confirming I have the best seat in the house. It’s something I don’t see from my house in the ‘burbs’.
(Dust storm across the road)
Shane does notice the landscape and the wildflowers that appear at certain times of the year. When pointed out to me, I have to say the colours are gorgeous.
As most of us know when we travel on the open road especially at night there is an increased risk of running into cattle and other wildlife. Unfortunately these obstacles especially the kangaroo cannot be avoided, and for me as an animal lover, it is the only horrible part of my job.
Having to challenge yourself mentally by being alert at all times whilst driving is rewarding in itself. Every day whilst away on the road is different, and that makes my job enjoyable and challenging.
(Karin with passengers Mary Watson and Charles Debono at the Perth Departure Point)
(Courstery of Karin Nevard)