HE insists there are hundreds of better bus drivers around and that all he has to offer is a warm welcome and a smile. But Raul Campos Folgado’s passengers disagree – and now their comments have earned him the title of the Capital’s best-loved bus driver.
Raul, who spoke little English when he moved to Edinburgh from Madrid five years ago, began working as a seasonal driver on a tour route in 2008 before making the switch to Lothian Buses.
The 32-year-old Spaniard was put forward for the firm’s “Favourite Driver” award after good feedback flooded in from travellers, but he claims there is no big secret behind his success.
He said: “I always say hello, how are you and goodbye to all my passengers, and make an effort to smile.
“It’s just politeness but obviously some people feel it makes a difference.
“But believe me, there are hundreds of better drivers around town – I should know.
“However, the fact that 20 people have made the effort to actually write in something nice about me, that makes me very proud. People normally only write into places to complain.
“I still don’t believe I won the award though. I’m so happy but I really don’t think I deserve more praise than any other bus driver, I don’t do anything special.”
Raul’s modesty was not shared by his bosses, who declared him a “fantastic” worker.
Line manager Andy Finlay said: “I have worked with Raul since his transfer from Edinburgh Bus Tours and always found him to be a willing and enthusiastic employee.
“He has the same cheery demeanour in the depot as he has on the bus.
“When congratulating him on his achievement I offered my hand, but in typical style Raul wanted a big hug. I was more than happy to oblige. He is a fantastic employee.”
Last year Raul, who spends his spare time volunteering at an over-50s computer club, was moved from his inner-city runs to the airport route to take advantage of his native tongue.
He said: “A lot of people coming to visit the city also speak Spanish. When they first arrive they don’t know Edinburgh and they maybe can’t speak much English, so I think it’s nice for them and reassuring to see a friendly face who can help them out a bit.
“It’s lovely to hear them reacting to the city as we come in going ‘Ooh, look at the Castle’.
“Also a lot of people who live in Edinburgh who are coming back from holidays in places that speak Spanish are so pleased to hear my accent – ‘You’re Spanish, what are you doing here when you could be living somewhere with some lovely sun?”
Raul added: “I like doing the airport route but I do miss my routes through the city. I try to do extra shifts every once in a while and see all the locals I used to see every day. I miss the 16 and the 11 and the 37 to Penicuik.”
What passengers said
Positive feedback from passengers included:
“He made the whole bus cheerful and created a very nice atmosphere”
“He had an exceptional warm and friendly welcome”
“It was so nice to get a ‘Hello and how are you’ as I got on the bus”
‘Daysaver, por favor’
English: Can you fold your buggy?
Spanish: ¿Este carrito se puede plegar?
English: I’m sorry, I can’t provide change.
Spanish: Lo siento, no le puedo dar cambio.
English: Quiet down in the back.
Spanish: Silencio allí atrás.
English: Another’ll be along in a minute
Spanish: Pasará otro en un minuto.
English: Don’t talk to me about trams!
Spanish: ¡Que no me hable de los tranvías!