BUSRide spoke with Frank Kane by phone at his home in Rochester, NY on the very day of his retirement in November. We congratulated him on capping his 47 years as a coach driver with 2.5 million miles without a recordable accident for the company that is now Trailways of New York. Kane is now the most recent BUSRide Safe Driver Hall of Fame inductee.
The company honored him in ceremonies for achieving 1.3 million miles. By then, however, Kane had already racked up 1.5 million miles before records were kept. Kane launched his career in 1969, after working six days a week for eight years, making glasses in his father’s optician’s office.
“I couldn’t do this all my life,” Kane says. “I needed to be outdoors.”
He considered working as a mail carrier, but ruled it out due to harsh winters in upstate New York. His fortune changed the day his good friend, a coach driver for Empire Trailways, invited him to ride along on a short run around Rochester.
“I told him, ‘You know, I think I could do this,’” he recalls. “Here I was outside, but inside at the same time. Whenever I was cold, I could just turn up the heater.”
Through his friend’s introduction to the folks at Empire Trailways, Kane was hired and his long and successful career was rolling. Over the years, Kane matched passion for driving with his love of flying, and says he finally sold his small Cessna three years ago.
“What I enjoyed most during my career were my passengers,” Kane says. “I knew one driver who was totally into the bus. He knew everything about motorcoaches; from the makes and models down to the number and sizes of windows. Me, I was most interested in the people who rode with me as regulars over the years. In fact, one person in particular became my longtime best friend.”
Asked what attributes earned him his immaculate safe driving record, Kane points to his one rule.
“There is always something that can rattle a driver,” he says. “So I just thought, A.B.C.: Always Be Cool.”