Every day, millions of people travel around the country in buses. From schoolchildren to long-distance travellers to city commuters, buses provide a vital transportation resource. Bus drivers are the workers responsible for ensuring that these vehicles get passengers to their destinations. Bus drivers can be found in almost any community, though most work in large cities or communities with higher population density.
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Bus drivers pilot their vehicles, pick up passengers, drop them off at their destinations and ensure that their vehicles operate safely. These workers can drive transit buses in intercity environments, school buses and long-distance buses as well. City bus drivers may be responsible for providing tickets to passengers and making sure buses arrive to their stops on time, regardless of light or heavy traffic. School bus drivers typically drive the same routes every morning and drive the reverse route in the afternoon.
Education and Training
The most important skills a driver needs to have is the ability to drive and have a clean driving record. They will have to undergo a background check. Some employers prefer graduates with high school degrees, and may require that they pass a written and driving test. Most employers give drivers training, usually for between 2 to 8 weeks. These classes teach safety regulations, state and local driving laws, company rules and Department of Transportation regulations. Bus drivers must have a commercial driver's license (CDL), the qualifications for which are established by the state and federal governments.
Bus drivers deal with a lot of people, and being courteous and emotionally stable are good skills to have. The job can also be quite stressful, as dealing with traffic, stop-and-go driving and dealing with passengers at the same time can be difficult and requires a driver to be able to handle multiple tasks at the same time. Good communication skills are also necessary.
Drivers spend most of their time seated, behind the wheel of their vehicles. Transit bus drivers can face dangerous situations as they drive alone and can face unruly or unstable passengers. Transit and intercity drivers face a higher rate of illness and work-related injury than average. School bus drivers comprise about 35 per cent of these workers, and they can work an average about 20 hours a week. Drivers typically work shifts, and can work evenings and weekends.
Jobs and Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were approximately 647,500 bus driver jobs in the United States in 2008. These jobs are expected to go through average job growth through 2018, with job opportunities expected to be good. The median hourly wage for these workers in 2008 was about £10.60, or about £21,190 a year. The highest 10 per cent earned more than £12.40 an hour, while the lowest 10 per cent earned less than £4.80 an hour.
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