Look: 10 members of this family in UAE have been school bus drivers for decades

One entered the profession in 2005, with his brothers soon following suit



Photos by Shihab
Photos by Shihab

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Wed 24 Aug 2022, 11:43 AM

Last updated: Wed 24 Aug 2022, 2:03 PM

Sultanzeb Bacha is ready every morning at 5.30 am, decked up in his uniform, polished shoes, and lunch box, to pick students up.

Sultanzeb is a school bus driver and has followed this routine for the last twenty years. He loves children and enjoys his work so much that he got his brothers and nephews to take up the profession as well. Now, as many as ten members of his family work for Emirates Transport, plying school children back and forth in the emirate of Sharjah.

Hailing from Swat in Pakistan, Sultanzeb came to the UAE in 1990 and started a gas cylinder business. After that venture failed, he started a logistics business and later worked as a taxi driver in Sharjah. He finally quit that job in 2005.

“I was delighted to secure a job at the Emirates Transportation as a school bus driver where I got to work around children,” said Sultanzeb. “It was a blessing in disguise after multiple failures."

“Our family loves children. My brothers tried their luck in various businesses, but their future too lies in things they love,” he added.

Sultanzeb’s younger brother Amirzeb Bacha and cousin brother Usman Ali secured a job at the same transportation company in 2008.

Ali has been a school bus driver for nearly 12 years and currently works as an assistant supervisor. He manages nearly 300 bus drivers’ schedules.

Amirzeb, on the other hand, he has been driving since he began, and will continue to do so for as long as he can. “I came to the UAE on August 14, 1995, and tried multiple jobs. Now my heart doesn’t want to quit this profession as my happiness lies here,” he said.

Highlighting the importance of responsibility, Amirzeb said: “This job has made us very responsible and alert, not only when I am behind the wheel but every second.”

ALSO READ:

The brothers have made many memories in commuting children daily to school, but a few incidents are close to their hearts. “Children talk and play on the bus. There were a few naughty kids who used to jump from one seat to another. Now they are all grown up, and whenever they see me, they address me respectfully,” Sultanzeb said with tears in his eyes.

The bus driver remembers a child named Ghadeer, who always greeted him with ‘Assalamualaikum.’

“She lived in Al Quoz, Sharjah, and her school was Al Andalus school,” he recalls.

Just like his older brother, Amirzeb also remembers a child from the batch of 2008. “When I started driving, there was this small girl who shook my hand with ‘Assalamualaikum’. I miss her greetings in the morning and evening. She studied in a primary school and resided in the Sabkha locality of Sharjah. I don’t remember her name, but she was a very virtuous kid,” he said.

The third brother, Saranzeb Bacha, joined the fleet in 2010. “My brothers were very happy in their job. As I had my driving license, I too took a chance and secured the job,” said Saranzeb.

Saranzeb arrived in UAE in 2000 and, like his older brothers, tried his hand at multiple professions before following in their footsteps. He shares a memory of a young child guiding me to different pick-up locations. “In the beginning, I found it difficult to remember the roads and locations of the children. Abdul Rahman, a 9th grader from Sharjah Model School, guided me to all the children’s homes and then to school, and it was the same process during the return journey as well ,” said Saranzeb.

“But now, locations and pickup points are all at my fingertips,” he added.

In the following years, many of the brothers' relatives and family members joined them.

“My cousin brother Mohammed Usman, nephews Nader Khan, Rahmat Khan, and Tariq Shah joined us,” said Sultanzeb.

He also said that many of their extended family members work with them and live under one roof. “We all reside together in a villa in Ajman, which is at a walk-able distance from our bus parking. I can say that we live with our family away from our family,” added Sultanzeb.

These bus drivers of the same family feel privileged to have landed in the profession. Many have been able to construct their own houses and secure the futures of their children as a result.

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Education