Coach operators usually drive passengers on sightseeing tours or extended trips. Coach drivers interact with the passengers to ensure that the trip is enjoyable as possible. Coach drivers are responsible for keeping the trip on schedule and may have to act as the customer service representative for their company. Becoming a coach driver requires a several weeks of training as well as meeting the state and federally established standards required of these positions.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Clean driving record
Gain employment by applying to local companies who are hiring coach drivers. At the time of hire it is not imperative that you have experience as a coach driver as training is supplied. In addition to training, many employers will help new coach drivers get their commercial driving licence (CDL). It is important that you have a clean driving record and are able to pass a drug screening. Some companies prefer high school graduates who can pass a written examination regarding how to follow bus schedules.
Complete your training. Most companies will give new drivers anywhere between two and eight weeks of behind-the-wheel and classroom training. The behind-the-wheel segment of the training usually involves driving on preset courses. The new driver practices backing up, turns, and driving in crowded spaces. Following the preset course training, you will move on to driving in light traffic and then crowded neighbourhoods and highways. Additionally, new employees may be asked to make trial runs without passengers. The classroom part of the training will include company policies, department of transportation rules, safety regulations, state and municipal rules, and safe driving practices.
Obtain the necessary licenses. All coach drivers have to obtain their CDL along with the required endorsements. Qualifications for drivers are established by state and federal guidelines but coach drivers who operate in other states are also responsible for complying with those regulations. To qualify for the CDL you must pass a written test on rules and regulations followed by a skills test that shows you can operate the coach safely. In addition, coach drivers must have passenger endorsements. Coach drivers must have a passenger vehicle endorsement that is obtained by passing a knowledge and skills test that is administered by the state.
Tips and warnings
- After being a successful coach driver you may advance to the role of supervisor or dispatcher.
- Many employers prefer new drivers to be at least 24 years old.
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