Philadelphia Mourns the Retirement of SEPTA’s Greatest Bus Driver

Anyone familiar with the No. 2 bus, which runs from Pulaski and Hunting Park to 20th and Johnston through Center City, will know Joe Wilson. He’s the guy doling out handshakes and hugs, talking with passengers and taking in their troubles. He’s also the guy driving the bus.

Not for long though, considering Wilson’s route ends for good this coming Saturday. After more than 35 years of fare collecting, passenger toting, and, yes, bus hijackings, Wilson is hanging up his driving gloves. But don’t expect the guy to play pinocle until he shuffles off this mortal coil:

Distressed about gun violence, a mission he plans to fight in retirement, he became pen pals with former Council President Anna Verna and District Attorney Lynne Abraham, who noted, “Joe might just be an exemplar that SEPTA employees everywhere might want to emulate.”

So that’s it for Joe: fighting against violence, maybe a little work in the garage he co-owns with a friend. Not bad, especially after all the shootings, robberies, and general rudeness Wilson has combatted since he started at SEPTA.

And with that, our commutes through Center City just got a little more standoffish. Farewell, sweet prince. []