Kesgrave/Ipswich: Justin Pearson is first ever double-amputee bus driver in country

First Bus driver
Justin Pearson has carved a successful career despite being a double amputee.

First Bus driver Justin Pearson has carved a successful career despite being a double amputee. - Credit: Leaderboard Photography

Ipswich-based Justin Pearson has shown that having no feet is no bar to mobility – he’s believed to be the first double amputee to become a bus driver.

First Bus driver
Justin Pearson has carved a successful career despite being a double amputee.

First Bus driver Justin Pearson has carved a successful career despite being a double amputee. - Credit: Leaderboard Photography

Mr Pearson works as a driver and relief duty controller at First’s Ipswich depot – and has urged other amputees to consider a career behind the wheel.

The 32-year-old, who lives in Kesgrave with his wife Rach and children Josh, 10, and Mia, three, was born with the tibula but no fibula in both legs. Justin’s legs were amputated below the knee when he was 13 months old.

He obtained a provisional driving licence when he was 16 and passed his driving test in an automatic car a month after his 17th birthday. Shortly after, he gained his manual driving licence.

His passion for driving and his determination not to let his disability get in his way, saw him pursue a career in the bus industry.

Mr Pearson said: “I joined First in 2008 and gained my Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence. I needed a job where I could sit down and I thought driving would be perfect. I feel using my knees rather than my feet. It’s just normal for me.”

He regularly takes part in charity events and recently wheeled himself 17 miles from Felixstowe to Ipswich. He has recently been promoted and now combines driving with his new role as ‘relief duty controller’.

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Although he can walk short distances, Mr Pearson has two wheelchairs which he uses to get around town.

He said: “I would encourage other amputees to consider bus driving as a career. I have acted as a buddy driver for an amputee before to a man who lost a leg during a motorbike crash.

“I like my job – driving is easy but I wanted to create a career. An opportunity came up for a controller and I applied. I would like to keep working hard and climb the ladder.”

Chris Speed, Business Manager for First in Ipswich, said: “Justin is a credit to our team. His Drive Green score is consistently low and he has never let his condition get in the way of his work.

“His attitude is second to none and Justin proves that a disability should never stand in the way of success.”