Bus drivers have one of the most people oriented occupations and one that requires constant focus as well as people skills. It is a job that can be done in many different settings, and that has a good outlook, as transportation companies vary and are many in every city.
Bus drivers transport people to their destination. Whether a metropolitan bus driver, a school bus driver, a resort bus driver, airport bus driver, commuter/job bus driver, public transit bus driver, private and public government agencies bus driver, Fun parks bus driver, and other settings, the responsibilities of transporting and dealing with the public are primary. Depending on the employer, other tasks may be required, such as maintaining and inspecting the bus, doing some paperwork and reports, answer customers questions, provide directions, collect fare, stock the bus with needed supplies, and other important tasks necessary to run a bus smoothly.
Bus drivers must adhere to a schedule to pick up passengers and they must follow a time frame in order to make their stops. In other words, a bus driver may never be too early as to miss passengers. Their routine and stops will depend on the type of company that they work for. For example, school bus drivers have one route that they must follow everyday in order to pick up students, transport them to the school, and back home. Depending on the shift, full-time or part-time, a bus driver will have to do other required duties. Tour bus drivers also have a set route and they deal mostly with vacationers, tourists, and groups that are enjoying a good time. Tour bus drivers’ destinations may vary depending on the type of job; a tour may take a day, a few hours, or several days. Other types of drivers will have to do several stops during the day, more or less depending on their established route.
The safety of the people they are transporting is the biggest responsibility a bus driver has. He/she must be always alert and focus on the driving task, as well as know any possible driving conditions ahead, and weather conditions. He/she must be informed of the traffic, and any variations in the schedule due to unexpected events.
Bus drivers can drive small buses of 15 passengers or larger buses up to 100 passengers. They must show courtesy and a polite demeanor to the customers, as well as assist in reporting any emergencies. Depending on the type of job setting a bus driver may work part-time or full-time 5, 6, or weekends/holidays. However, all bus companies must follow the rules and regulations that have been established by the Department of Transportation concerning working hours and other issues.
Training and Education Requirements
A bus driver must possess a valid Commercial Driver’s License, commonly known as CDL. This is obtained by taking a test, which is mandated by state and federal regulations. They might also have to take any employer required seminars or classes, and training. A company training may include local and state traffic regulations, company rules and policy, safety issues, driving training and monitoring for a period of time, how to deal with the public, understanding schedules and other related tasks … A high school Diploma is preferred, however, a clean driver’s record and experience driving will suffice in some cases, depending on the employer requirements. They must have people skills as they will encounter many different personalities in their job, and good communication skills are necessary. These skills also include the ability to deal and manage large groups, and communicate clear instructions.
Other endorsements might be necessary depending on the job setting – passenger and school bus endorsement. You must be 18 years to drive a bus within state borders and at least 21 years old if you are going to be engaged in interstate commerce. You will have to pass a physical exam every two years and have a dominion of the English language (read/speak). Companies will also test drivers for drug and substances. Others require a background check.
Bus Driver Salary and Wages
Salary, benefits, and wages will depend on type of employment setting, company perks and bonuses, and if the person is employed full or part-time. Salary ranges from $9.82 per hour up to $26.74+ per hour.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Bus drivers must possess a CDL license, must pass a health exam, company training and required certifications depending on the type of setting, such as first aid and emergency evacuation, student relations, special needs training, safety, and any other certificates mandated by the employer.
Depending on the state, city, and employment bus drivers may belong to local associations, for example job associations, school employees association, bus drivers association, and others.
The occupation of bus driver continues to evolve as transportation and local, state, and federal laws evolve. Technology and the evolution of modes of transportation will also determine much of this career’s future. People will always need to be transported from one place to another, and future employment opportunities will always be available.