What Do Bus Drivers Do?
Bus Drivers, both transit and intercity, are responsible for the transportation of passengers. This may include the driving of busses, motor coaches, charters, or private carriages. Responsibilities are more elaborate for intercity bus drivers, including managing baggage and maintaining comfort levels for passengers for long periods of time. Whichever distinction you choose, you are responsible for knowing and following the rules of the road to provide the safest experience for passengers as possible.
Bus Drivers Skills and Abilities
The most important experience bus drivers need to have is in transportation. It may seem obvious, but all workers in this field need to have a complete understanding of the regulations and policies, as well as the laws, regarding public transportation. These vary between regular transit and intercity transportation, so drivers need to be informed. Secondly, a service orientation is important. Drivers frequently collect fares, so they need to have interpersonal skills, but they also are sometimes responsible for helping passengers, especially the elderly or disabled, board and disembark the bus. Finally, drivers need to have experience with time management and critical thinking for planning and keeping track of the route and schedule.
Bus Drivers Duties
As you would expect, most of the duties that bus drivers have is driving the bus over predetermined routes or to specific destinations. They must follow the schedule and stay on time. Additionally, drivers are responsible for parking, loading the bus, checking fuel and oil levels, and maintaining the bus. They will collect fares, and interact with passengers, answering questions about the route or schedule. Finally, drivers are responsible for recording customer information and reporting accidents or delays.
Bus Drivers Tools and Technology
The tools that bus drivers use on a daily basis include:
- Automotive powered service doors
- Automotive hydraulic systems
- Emergency medical services first aid kits
- Rear lifts and wheelchair lifts
- Map creation software
Of course, the most important tool the bus drivers use is the bus itself.
Education and Training for Bus Drivers
The education requirement for bus drivers is not very extensive. Nearly half of current bus drivers only hold a high school diploma or equivalent. The second largest group is those with some college experience but no degree. Together, these groups make up 75% of bus drivers. About 10% do not have a high school diploma and 14% have either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. If you want to become a bus driver, you education level will likely not hold you back. Moderate-term on-the-job training is required upon hiring.
Bus Drivers Salary
You may be surprised to hear that the average annual salary for bus drivers is pretty high. Across the entire nation, bus drivers earn nearly $40,000 on average. The bottom 10% earns about half of that, while the top 10% earns about $60,000. This means the range of salary is about $40,000.
Bus Drivers Jobs by Geography
Because of the nature of the job, geography plays a bigger role in determining salary and job frequency among bus drivers than with many other jobs. Locations with extensive public transportation pay bus drivers more and higher more. These locations include New York, Washington, and Ohio. In New York, the average is as high as $50,000. States, such as South Carolina and Alabama, have the lowest annual salary average. North Dakota has some of the lowest numbers of bus drivers, but it seems to be increasing the most. With the exception of New Jersey and Maine, each state is seeing their numbers increase, at least slightly. There are a projected 5,000 new jobs each year across the entire nation. Be sure to take location into consideration when looking for work as a bus driver.