Bus Driver Job Description
Bus drivers transport passengers between locations, either as part of a regular route, a charter, or private carriage.
Responsibilities for bus driver jobs include following specified time schedules, inspecting vehicles before departure, assisting passengers on and off the bus, and ensuring the safety of all passengers
There are many types of bus drivers. Though the work they do is very similar, their responsibilities are different enough that it’s worth covering them each in a little bit of detail. Here are a few of the most common types of bus drivers:
Motor coach drivers often drive buses that take people on chartered trips or sightseeing tours. Often times, their passengers are on vacation. These drivers normally stay with the group for the duration of their trip, and sometimes have long periods of downtime while they wait for the passengers to conclude their tour.
Intercity bus drivers transport passengers from one city to another. Sometimes they move between towns that are only a few miles apart, while other times they may have to drive many miles and cross state lines.
Local transit bus drivers follow a daily route that is often the same from day to day. If you go to a big city and take a bus across town, chances are good that you are riding a local transit bus. These bus drivers stop frequently (sometimes every block) to pick up and drop off passengers at bus stops.
School bus drivers transport children to and from school. You can read more about school bus drivers here.
Work Environment and Schedule
Most bus drivers work for the local government and urban transit systems (private companies that provide bus service for a city or town).
Because they spend so much time driving, bus drivers are at a high risk of being involved in an accident. Though most accidents result in only minor injuries, bus drivers do suffer higher rates of injury than people in most other occupations. Sitting for long periods of time can also increase the likelihood of injury.
People count on buses to take them to and from work and other appointments. Because people so often need to be at a particular place at a particular time, bus drivers have to keep very tight schedules. This can make it stressful when they encounter accidents, traffic congestion, or other delays.
In many cities, buses operate every hour of every day. Working nights, weekends, and holidays is a requirement for many bus drivers.
How to Become a Bus Driver
Most employers require bus drivers need to have a high school diploma and pass some physical examinations. Passing drug and alcohol screenings as well as background checks is normally also required before you can work in this occupation.
All bus drivers have to hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL). The requirements for earning a CDL vary from state to state, but passing a written and practical exam is normally required.
Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL, which demonstrate their ability to drive a certain type of vehicle. Bus drivers need to get a passenger (P) endorsement. Getting the endorsement requires the successful completion of an additional test.
To learn more about getting a CDL, you should contact your state’s licensing agency.
Once hired, bus drivers normally go through a training program that can last for several months. Training normally includes both classroom and practical training. At the conclusion of training, bus drivers are familiar enough with their vehicle and their route to work without supervision.
There are currently 186,300 bus drivers in the United States, with 6,350 new bus driver job openings created each year.
Bus Driver jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.
Bus Driver Salaries
Bus Driver salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most bus drivers make between $26,600 – $47,800 per year, or $12.77 – $22.98 per hour.