Bus Driver Job Facts

Bus drivers work in the public transport sector, an area of employment which may relate to high volumes of commuter traffic and related issues. This can be hard work, with long hours and a difficult workplace to contend with. Although bus drivers provide a useful service to the public, the job has its issues:

  • Traffic: Bus drivers often have to deal with the heavy peak hour commuter traffic and related problems.
  • Problem passengers: Fare evasion, uncooperative and objectionable passengers.
  • Schedule issues: Bus schedules are sometimes unrealistic, and don't allow for heavy traffic periods.
  • Mechanical quality and reliability of vehicles: Can vary from good to appalling.  

The Work Environment

The bus driver's job is much more demanding than most people realize. A driver of a passenger vehicle is subject to much tougher requirements for performance than most other drivers. Errors can cost a job, and the license required for the work. Road time issues are the basis of the demands on the bus driver's job. Some bus routes are difficult, convoluted things, wearing on patience and time management skills. The workloads can be high, particularly in cases where drivers have to fill in for canceled services or absent drivers.

A major issue for bus drivers is quality of employment. The work environment can be highly variable. Top of the line tour services and modern organizations can provide excellent working conditions and pay. Other services may be of a very dubious quality, including poor maintenance, pay and workplace culture.

If you're looking for a job as a bus driver, you're strongly advised to research workplace conditions and the general standards of the employer. There are good job opportunities for bus drivers, but the lower end of the market can be a truly tough exercise in stamina and patience. Low pay isn't compulsory, either, so you can afford to shop around for better options.

The defining qualities of good bus driving jobs are: 

  • High standards of cleanliness and vehicle maintenance.
  • Effective administration and operational processes.
  • Professional, customer-oriented management and business practices.
  • Proper and prompt attention to all safety issues.
  • Realistic management policies and approaches to driver issues. 

Wages and Hours

The wages of most bus drivers range between $21,000 to $55,000 depending on experience and level of employment. The hours worked are usually shift hours that do not last more than 8 hours per shift.

The Career Outlook

Bus drivers have a fairly straightforward promotional progression in organizations. Drivers are promoted to supervisors. Managers are promoted to administration positions. Many undertake business studies for promotional purposes. Knowing the business is a major advantage in this industry. Public transport is a distinct industrial language and culture, and experience counts. Thorough familiarity with all aspects of operations is a strong career asset.

Bus drivers do have some levels of career mobility, and job vacancies are reasonably easy to find, but good career moves have to progress upward, not sideways. Career advancement remains in the general promotional context. The best bus driver jobs are in the tourist industry, with usually higher quality vehicles and standards of employment.

Other types of passenger transport are alternative career options for bus drivers, although the career progression methods in these areas are very similar, as are the workplace quality issues. These jobs can be good career moves, however, in terms of providing both better jobs and career credentials for promotion.