How to become a Bus Driver
If you love to drive and enjoy meeting different people and exploring new places, this could be the best job for you. This sector offers you several career opportunities as different types of bus services are rising.
Drivers are currently an aging workforce, as there will be a need to recruit around 30,000 drivers over the next year. Thus a great opening is there for all those who plan to become bus drivers in the times to come.
What do they do
As a bus driver, you must transport passengers from one place to another. They need to travel a lot through all local routes; they have to stop at all allocated bus stops to permit passengers to get on and off the bus.
Bus drivers must be careful of road safety regulations and assure all passengers feel comfortable and confirm their security throughout their trip as there would be a different types of people from in and around the community or private clients, including school children, hospital patients, pregnant women, and elderly.
A bus driver has some general duties, including
- Checking passes
- Issuing tickets
- Giving the right information on the specific routes of the journey
- Helping passengers who are facing difficulty getting on or off the vehicle
- Serving with luggage on longer journeys
- Moving out with basic safety checks to ensure the bus runs smoothly.
- Check out if any passengers waiting at the roadside who may not be able to hear or see that the bus is coming
- Use the internal mirrors to check the stairs on a double-deck vehicle or bus, especially when you are stopping, moving, or cornering the bus
- Make sure the doors are shut before moving off; it is mandatory
There are similar duties of a coach driver, like a bus driver. The journey of a coach driver would be much longer. You have to drive between cities or drive people on day trips or holiday tours. Their tasks would include
- Loading and unloading luggage
- Checking tickets and passes
- Checking that all passengers are back on board for the return journey and after any scheduled stops
You have extra responsibilities like keeping the coach clean, checking your vehicles before taking it out, and reporting any incidents to the inspectors back at the depot.
You may have to drive to overseas destinations. This would include some extra duties like keeping passengers up to date with travel information and dealing with foreign authorities. It will be specially required when you are going through border controls.
There are rules and regulations for weekly maximum driving hours.
On local services, you could work up to 48 hours a week on shifts, including evenings and weekends, between 6 am and midnight. You have to drive up to 56 hours a week, with a maximum of 90 hours as a coach driver. If you go for a holiday tour, you have to stay from home for several days at a time.
It is so stressful and fatiguing than physically strenuous to drive a bus through heavy traffic while dealing with passengers. Many drivers like the opportunity to work without direct supervision and full responsibilities for their bus and passengers. Many bus lines provide ergonomically designed seats and controls for drivers to improve working conditions and retain drivers. To help dispatchers and to manage their bus fleets and help drivers with navigation, many bus companies use Global Positioning Systems (GPS).
What does it take to become a bus driver?
The first thing you need to be a bus driver is complete training for a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) license and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC Driver).
To begin your career as a bus driver, first, you need to start training with a company, you must hold a full EU driving license, and you have to be 18 years old. Some employers may like to take on trainees who have held their driving license for one 1 or 2 years or who are aged over 21. For details, and information, check them out.
You could also instruct or train independently by taking private lessons through a local driving school. After having your license, you could contact bus and companies about vacancies.
You can apply to the GOV.UK website for your provisional PCV license.
You must be able to control your time effectively to reach your destinations within the mentioned timeframe. You may have to assist others, so you need to be friendly, and a positive approach to others is highly necessary.
Some extra skills and qualities are required to be a bus driver. They are
- An excellent driving skills and knowledge of traffic regulations
- A patient manner and responsible or dutiful attitude
- An understanding of health and safety issues
- The capability to read traffic signs and follow all instructions
- Good numeracy skills
- Good customer service and clear communication skills
- A positive but polite approach to difficult passengers
- A good knowledge of geography
If you want to pursue abroad, you should need to know, or you have to understand, the overseas traffic laws and have some basic foreign language skills.
As a trainee or new bus driver, you may earn between £ 13,000 and £ 15,000 a year.
But if you gather some experience, you can earn from £16,000 to £20,000 a year. This could rise up to £ 25,000 a year with overtime payments.
Training and development
If you are a new recruit, you will get induction training that contains operating ticket machines, learning routes, radio communications, and customer care and health and safety issues.
You would also be set through PCV driver training that typically endures between one and six weeks. You must pass a practical and theoretical driving test and a medical check to get your license.
You may also get the training for the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) from your employers. All new drivers require to gain this as well as a PCV license. Before you can qualify as a professional driver, you need to pass all parts of CPC, which have four parts.
If you have the qualification of an existing bus driver and got your PCV license before September 2008, you may be exempt from the Driver CPC requirements. This is called ‘acquired rights.
If you are a qualified driver, you have to renew your license every five years and complete 35 hours of training every five-year period.
Your employer may give you the encouragement to work towards an industry qualification such as the Level2 (NVQ) Diploma in Passenger Carrying Vehicle Driving (bus and coach) or a qualification in customer service.
You may work for some companies running local bus services, those with long-distance operations, or holiday tour companies in the UK or overseas.
Experienced bus drivers can quickly become service controllers or inspectors, depot managers or driver training instructors.
You may also set up or can start your own business in this profession. For this reason, you have to acquire an operator’s Certificate of Professional Competence (passenger transport).
You must be 18 and hold a full EU driver’s license to become a bus driver. You will also be needed to carry out different bus driving training courses either it through the bus company you are working for or independently through a driving school. Induction training for the new recruitments generally lasts for several weeks.