Bus Drivers are employed by urban transportation agencies, schools, transportation companies, and other public and private companies to drive buses, charters, or vans transporting passengers through designated routes. Some Bus Drivers may be responsible for charging fares to passengers, which is the case of public urban transportation. Furthermore, in some cases, Bus Drivers are required to help passengers with limited mobility board or get off the vehicle using special equipment.
Given the fact that Bus Drivers transport passengers, safety procedures and adherence to traffic laws are of paramount importance. Most cities have standard regulations and traffic laws applicable to public transportation regarding working schedules, routes, and street lanes they’re allowed to transit.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Bus Drivers are required to complete.
- Driving passenger vehicles (e.g. buses, vans, or charters):
- Conducting passengers through pre-established routes and schedules;
- adhering to transit regulations and laws;
- respecting work schedules; and
- ensuring the safety of passengers.
- Regulating heating, lighting, and ventilation systems inside the vehicle:
- Adjusting heating and ventilation systems to provide a comfortable temperature for passengers; and
- turning the internal lights on during hours of low visibility.
- Parking vehicles at designated areas for passengers to board and get off:
- Charging fares to passengers when required;
- checking a list of passengers when necessary (charter buses);
- recording fares and handing receipts;
- maintaining a log regarding schedules and passengers; and
- knowing when taking a passenger could potentially lead to risky situations.
- Inspecting vehicles prior to departure:
- Checking gas, oil, and cooling fluid levels;
- inspecting tires’ condition and air pressure;
- checking for malfunctioning parts;
- checking breaks, wipers, and lights; and
- informing supervisors/company of any functioning issue.
- Assisting passengers:
- Providing the right answers to the passengers’ doubts regarding schedules or routes;
- helping passengers with limited mobility get on and off the vehicle;
- assisting passengers with their baggage;
- keeping the bus and its passengers in order;
- advising passengers to be seated and maintaining the order during the ride; and
- ensuring special passengers are well-seated and secured.
- Handling passenger emergencies:
- Providing first aid care or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on a passenger when necessary; and
- assisting passengers during an emergency (e.g. accidents, breakdowns, and medical emergencies).
- Reporting emergencies, delays, or accidents:
- Notifying headquarters of any incident and requesting assistance when necessary.
- Making minor repairs to the vehicle:
- Changing tires when necessary; and
- adding cooling fuel when required.
- Checking assigned route and inspecting vehicle conditions prior to departure.
- Parking at designated areas where passengers can get on and off the bus.
- Driving passengers through pre-established routes.
- Adhering to traffic laws and regulations.
- Stopping at designated points at passenger’s request.
- Charging fares to passengers.
- Storing and keeping records of number of passengers and fares collected.
- Keeping passengers in an orderly and safe manner.
- Reporting and assessing any incident or emergency.
- Assisting passengers with baggage and special needs.
- Answering passengers’ questions and inquiries.
- Turning in reports to supervisors.
- Keeping a friendly environment in the bus.
The average Bus Driver salary in USA is $35,393 per year or $18 per hour. This is around 1.2 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $25,000 while most experienced workers make up to $50,000. These results are based on 3,408 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Exceptional mechanical and driving skills:
- Adhering to traffic laws and regulations;
- displaying outstanding levels of alertness so as to be aware of their surroundings, as well as to be able to identify and prevent risks and avoid accidents;
- staying alert and awake during late hours while driving;
- monitoring the status of the vehicle and conducting regular check-ups; and
- being able to perform minor mechanical maintenance or repair tasks, as needed.
- High levels of self-reliance and resourcefulness:
- Working alone most of the time.
- Outstanding geographical knowledge and navigational skills.
- Excellent physical condition and stamina:
- Being able to endure long journeys;
- enduring different types of climate and weather conditions;
- having the necessary physical strength to operate a bus, as well as to load and unload baggage;
- having good hand-eye coordination; and
- having great hearing abilities and good eyesight, especially at night.
- Great stress and time management skills:
- Working according to pre-established schedules; and
- arriving at designated stops in a timely manner.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills:
- Interacting with passengers;
- liaising with employers and customers;
- having an ear for languages, especially in touristic places; and
- being able to provide accurate information to passenger.
- Good mathematical skills:
- Calculating hours of departure and arrival; and
- charging fares to passengers.
- High levels of honesty, integrity, and reliability.
Jobs for Bus Drivers are often offered by city public transportation systems, transportation companies, or school boards. The educational requirements for this position are having completed secondary school education and being 18 years old; however, when working for interstate buses, applicants need to be at least 21 years old. It is obligatory to pass a drug and alcohol test and to have a class B commercial driver’s license (CDL) with Air Brake endorsement.
These individuals have to successfully complete a set of training sessions to reinforce their knowledge. These sessions include on-the-job training and other courses, sometimes depending on the state.
Some specialized private transportation companies also require the operators they hire to possess from one (1) month to two (2) years of previous experience driving these types of vehicles.
Public transportation works during late hours and interstate buses can cover very long distances and may also travel during night hours, weekends, and national holidays. Intercity buses have regular schedules and different shifts that workers need to adapt to. Bus Drivers are, therefore, expected to be able to work during these hours.