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Bus or coach driver

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Bus and coach drivers transport passengers on local, national or overseas journeys.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a:

For some jobs you’ll also need a digital tachograph card.

You'll usually apply to bus or coach companies and train on the job. Before you start training, most employers will expect you to:

  • be at least 18 (21 if you want to drive a bus or coach abroad)
  • have held a full driving licence for at least 12 months

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent driving skills and knowledge of traffic regulations
  • good customer service and clear communication skills
  • an assertive but polite approach to difficult passengers
  • good geographical knowledge

If you travel abroad, you'll also need an understanding of overseas traffic laws and some basic foreign language skills.

3. What you'll do

You could work for local bus companies, long distance operators, or holiday tour companies in the UK or overseas.

You could also work in community transport, driving schoolchildren, hospital patients and older people to their destinations.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • taking fares
  • checking tickets and passes
  • giving timetable or route information
  • helping passengers who are having difficulty getting on or off the vehicle
  • driving safely and keeping to timetables

If you're a coach driver, your duties may also include:

  • greeting passengers and checking documents
  • loading and unloading luggage
  • making announcements during the journey
  • making sure passengers are back on board for return journeys, and after scheduled stops
  • keeping the coach clean and doing basic vehicle checks
  • recording driving hours and reporting any incidents

If you drive to overseas destinations, you’ll need to keep passengers up to date with travel information and deal with border control authorities.

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000 to £17,000

Experienced: £18,000 to £23,000

Highly Experienced: £25,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

There are EU and UK regulations for weekly maximum driving hours and rest breaks.

On local services you could drive for a maximum of 10 hours a day.

On longer trips, you'll usually drive for a maximum of 9 hours a day, up to 56 hours in a week, or up to 90 hours over 2 weeks.

If you take holiday tours, you could be away from home for several days or weeks at a time.

If you drive school buses, you may work term-time only.

A uniform is usually provided.

6. Career path and progression

Every 5 years you’ll need to:

  • take 35 hours of Driver CPC training
  • renew your bus driving licence if you're aged 45 or over

With experience, you could become a service controller or inspector, depot manager or driver training instructor.

You could also set up your own business. For this you’ll need the Transport Manager CPC - Passenger Transport. This could be done through a local training provider.

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Last updated: 10 September 2018