BUS drivers used to navigating the streets of Sunderland are taking to the capital during the Olympics.
The 32 Stagecoach employees will play a key role in supporting the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
They will join colleagues from across the country who are being drafted in during the Games.
More than 2,630 Stagecoach bus drivers and support staff will help provide transport for athletes and media throughout the Games after the transport company landed a lucrative contract.
The venture by Stagecoach – which will also be running a rail service – has been planned for 12 months.
It will provide about half of the 1,000 buses needed for the 14,700 athletes and 21,000 media representatives.
Among the drivers will be 49-year-old Ian Alderson and Brian Muter, 57.
Ian, from Silksworth, said: “I’m really looking forward to going down to the Olympics.
“It’ll be nice to drive on a different route and meet different people.”
Brian, who lives in Washington, said: “I’m driving for the Olympics but I also hope to go to the Paralympics.
“My family is really excited for me, they just wish they could come. Being part of it all, and getting involved in the hype is going to be so much fun.”
Stagecoach will manage two bus depots throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games – one at West Ham and one at Beckton.
Stagecoach Group chief executive Sir Brian Souter said: “The London 2012 Games are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our people to be involved in a global event on this scale.
“We are proud to be involved in the Games and look forward to helping make the event a success for spectators and athletes alike.
“We also send our best wishes to the British Olympic and Paralympic teams. The whole country is behind them and we all hope they are among the medals when the competition starts.”