There is a lot more to being a bus driver than driving into town and back several times a day! A bus or coach driver drives their vehicles to certain destinations, transporting and collecting passengers along the way. Bus and coach companies can be small or large, some are international companies and routes can depend on the specific job you have, e.g. European routes.
To become a bus driver may not require formal qualifications but some companies do insist upon being educated to GCSE standard as a minimum so you must check individual companies as they do vary. Of course, you will need a passion for driving, own a full driving licence and be able to pass the various and often intensive driver training courses and tests that the specific company will insist upon. After training you will receive your PCV ( Passenger Carrying Vehicle) licence. There are two categories for this which determines how many people you can carry and the size of the vehicle.
Bus drivers need to be adaptable to working alone for most of the day, be able to interact with passengers, have great customer service skills and be able to use their own initiative as well as working with others. A cheerful and positive disposition is also helpful, especially when dealing with difficult passengers or traffic delays and minor incidents. You will need to be able to be physically and mentally fit with good eyesight and hearing. The role will demand excellent knowledge of the highway code and the various national and international road signs, rules and regulations. You will need insight regarding public health and safety laws as well as knowledge of vehicle maintenance.
The driver's responsibilities will depend upon what vehicle they drive, the type of passengers they transport and to where the destination is. Some drivers will have the responsibility of issuing and checking tickets as well as updating passengers on timetables and stops. Drivers may have to liaise with other members of staff on board and offer assistance if necessary. An example of this could be if a driver is transporting vulnerable or disabled passengers and may even have to have completed some basic training in first aid techniques. Vehicle safety checks and risk assessments may have to be carried out by the driver and the driver will need to report any issues or complaints to the appropriate supervisors or managers, ensuring relevant documentation is completed.
Bus drivers can work unsociable hours which may include, late at night, weekends and throughout the night if driving internationally but your pay will reflect this and there are often opportunities for flexible working. Additionally, perks of the job such as free travel and certain discounts are frequently available for yourself, family and friends. Salaries can vary considerably depending on which area in the UK you are working, the company you work for and your contracted hours.
Some companies offer career advancement opportunities and with experience, additional training and qualifications you may have the chance to progress.