A Suffolk County bus driver who logged more than 1.25 million miles in his 45-year career made his final run Friday afternoon.
Michael Guasp, 76, who was hired by Suffolk Transportation Service on June 5, 1970, pulled up to the stop at Main Street and Saxon Avenue in Bay Shore, where he was greeted by fellow employees and bus company executives with applause and a plaque.
They lauded him on his retirement from a career behind the wheel, during which he drove the million-plus miles for Suffolk Bus Corp., a division of Suffolk Transportation. Bus officials calculated that equals about 50 times around the world.
Guasp, beloved by both passengers and co-workers, said it was time for him to hit the brakes. For years, he woke at 4:30 a.m. for the early route on the S40, which runs along the South Shore from Babylon to Patchogue.
"You get tired after 45 years," said Guasp, of Bay Shore. He said he has no plans and that he just wants to relax.
"I drove this bus more than I drove my own car," he said. "There's a lot of good people on the run."
Denise McGarty, regional transportation director for the Suffolk bus company, has worked with Guasp for many years.
"He's so dedicated," she said. "He started here when the main office was a barn."
The group of workers wanted to give him a special send-off for being such a dedicated and loyal employee, McGarty said.
John J. Corrado, president of the bus company and Suffolk Transportation Service, said Guasp started with the company when it was a makeshift system, with white school buses, operating in the Town of Islip.
The fleet has grown from 35 school buses and 15 transit buses in 1970 to more than 1,400 school buses, 80 transit buses and 143 paratransit buses today.
"Mike is one of the finest transit drivers in Suffolk County," Corrado said.