I really think your friend is extremely fortunate to find the bus and drive for years. Personally, I don't think it's prudent to expect trouble-free operation from old machinery, and hence budget spending accordingly.
How do I feel driving a car that is dripping oil or some mysterious rattling sound in the vehicle? I rather use public transportation, or use bicycle than having to deal with a vehicle with mechanical uncertainty. Safety is always my first priority and never place myself in unpredictable circumstance.
Don't let dumb machinery control your life, machinery is suppose to benefit human, not the opposite way.