Bus drivers drive buses and coaches, picking up passengers and dropping them off at bus stops along a set route. They drive short distances in towns and cities, longer distances on intercity or country routes and may take passengers abroad if they work for holiday companies.
You could be:
- driving a single or double decker bus, coach or articulated coach on short trips on local routes and keeping to a timetable
- driving an intercity, express or hired coach, or a touring bus for day trips or longer excursions within the country or abroad
- making sure passengers get on and off safely, opening and closing doors and using a hydraulic system to lower the bus to make it easier to get on
- giving passengers information about fares, routes, connections or bus times
- collecting fares, issuing tickets and checking passes and season tickets
- keeping in regular radio contact with headquarters to find out about traffic, weather conditions and roadworks or accidents which could cause delays or route changes
- helping passengers load and unload luggage and helping disabled passengers to get on and off the bus
- on tourist trips, telling passengers about places of interest throughout the journey
- doing routine maintenance such as checking lights, brakes, fuel and tyres and reporting any faults.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Trainees working towards the PCV licence may earn between £7.50 and £9.00 per hour. With experience, this can rise to between £10.00 and £13.00 an hour.
- If you work for a company providing a local bus service you might do the same route each day in a town or city or on regular school runs.
- If you work for a hire company you could have more variety, such as taking football supporters to matches or children on school trips.
- You might work shifts, including split shifts on longer journeys when breaks must be taken and you might have overnights away from home.
- You might work evenings, nights, weekends and public holidays.
- You will have to sit for long periods in a confined space.
- You usually have to wear a uniform, and sometimes high visibility clothing.
- There are rules on the number of hours you can work over a week or fortnight, which depends on the number of passengers you carry and the distance of the route.
- Every five years you must complete a medical declaration or medical examination, depending on age.
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- A good general education is useful. Some employers may prefer you to have some subjects at National 4 or 5, including English and maths.
- You need a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence. You need to have held a full UK car driving licence for at least 12 months and have no more than 3 penalty points before being able to obtain the PCV licence.
- Once you have your provisional PCV (category D) licence you can drive a bus to prepare for the PCV driving test and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
- You must pass the PCV driving test and the additional four tests (theory and practical) that make up the CPC to qualify.
- You can get a full PCV licence and drive buses when you are 18, but you must drive a regular route that is within 31 miles of where you work.
- You must be 21 before you can drive abroad.
- You will need to pass a medical and undergo tests for alcohol and drugs.
- You may need an Enhanced Disclosure or PVG Scheme record from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work.
- You may have to sit additional tests in driving and arithmetic, set by the employer.
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- reliable and responsible
- aware of safety issues
- polite and helpful
- patient and tolerant of other road users.
You need to be able to:
- remain calm under pressure
- drive skilfully and safely in all conditions
- concentrate for long periods
- deal with emergencies quickly and calmly
- deal with troublesome passengers
- handle cash responsibly
- work confidently on your own.
- You would train for your PCV licence either before taking up your job or as a trainee with your employer.
- You would do some training in a classroom and some on the road.
- You must also obtain the Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). New drivers will get this qualification when they are doing their initial training.
- You must complete 35 hours of periodic training every five years to stay qualified.
- With experience and further training, you may gain promotion to be an instructor, a service controller or a manager.
- If you gain the Transport Manager or Operator's Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) you would be able to set up your own bus and coach business.
You can get more information about the Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
Tel: 0300 200 1122
The DVSA replaced the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in April 2014. Its aim is to promote road safety through improving driving standards, testing drivers, motorcyclists and driving instructors, maintaining the registers of Approved Driving Instructors and Large Goods Vehicle Instructors and supervising training for learner motorcyclists.
People 1st - Careers That Move
People 1st is the Sector Skills Council for the hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism industries.
Careers That Move is in association with People 1st and the UKSP. It is the careers website for passenger transport and travel.
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