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Careers in bus and coach driving

Benefits of bus and coach driving

Potential to earn

The sector offers secure employment and most drivers are guaranteed a fixed weekly or monthly wage. There may also be opportunities to work extra hours to earn more money.  Some operators offer flexible hours. Rates of pay vary depending on the region and the type of work involved.

Bus and coach drivers are key workers and make a real difference to people’s lives.

They play an important role in enabling people to go about their daily lives – to go to work or education, go shopping, access essential services or leisure activities.

How to get started

There are an increasing number of vacancies in this sector, and many operators offer new recruits extensive, paid training.  For new bus and coach drivers, this will initially be focussed on passing the bus/coach driving test, which is made up of a series of modules including a theory and a practical test.

The training will also include the different types of bus/coaches that the operator uses, including their different features and controls.  It will also cover company procedures, how to deal with a range of situations, and training in the use of equipment such as ticket machines and radios/mobile communications.

Drivers will receive ongoing training as part of the ‘Driver Certificate of Professional Competence’.

Some companies offer apprenticeships.

You can drive a bus or coach on a ‘regular service’ where the route does not exceed 50 kilometres from age 18, and drive other coach or bus services in the UK from age 20.

Further information about careers in this sector and the difference between bus and coach driving can be found on the Confederation of Passenger Transport website.

Skills you need

As well as good driving skills, strong customer service skills are a key part of the role.  In the normal course of business, you will come into contact with a wide range of people in different situations and you will be required to represent your company in the best possible light.

Benefits of bus and coach driving

You get the opportunity to be behind the wheel of a very hi-tech, expensive vehicle!  A new double-decker bus costs around £200,000 and the average mid-range coach costs around £250,000.  Modern vehicles are technologically advanced in terms of safety features, engines and interior equipment.

Help the environment

Buses and coaches are some of the most environmentally friendly vehicles around. They move large numbers of people around efficiently and can reduce the number of cars on the road which is good for the environment.

Challenge your view of working in this sector  

Flexible working patterns and shifts

There are often opportunities for employees to choose hours which suit them best – part-time, full-time, early or late starts, day or night shifts; some operators may be able to offer weekday only work.

A range of opportunities

The bus and coach sector offers a great range of driving opportunities.  Some bus drivers prefer to drive the same route and get to know their passengers.  Others like the variety of driving different routes day to day. Coach driving often involves a lot of variety including school transport, bringing groups on days out, long distance express service work, corporate hires and touring around the UK or Europe.

Promotion in the transport industry

Many supervisors and managers have worked their way up from entry level positions and further opportunities exist in areas like training new drivers. Most employers offer industry related qualifications as part of the package.

Equal opportunities  

It’s true that only 20% of employees working in the industry are women. Employers are keen to encourage more women into the sector as they seek to address the imbalance.  Modern buses and coaches present no physical difficulty in driving and many companies can offer shifts to suit the individual.