Job description: what does a bus driver do?
Bus drivers work for public or private companies in passenger transport, such as municipal transport companies or travel companies. In the regular service, they transport people to the individual stops of the city and regional timetable, in the tourist service they go to various national and international destinations. Most of their daily work takes place behind the wheel.
Also, the vehicle is checked before the start of the journey. After the end of the service for technical defects, the tank load, the interior condition, and any items left behind by the passengers. In regular transport, bus drivers are responsible for selling tickets, advice on timetables or tariffs, and checking tickets. Before each journey, they ensure that the corresponding destination or the correct route is shown on the display board. When passengers board, ensure that elderly or physically handicapped people can board safely.
During the journey, they always have the bus’s interior under control and, in the event of irregularities or attempted property damage, inform people of the transport regulations or – if necessary – exclude them from the journey. Bus drivers announce the respective intermediate destinations via loudspeaker or activate a corresponding electronic announcement. They register the stop requests signaled at the push of a button and keep a logbook during their working day in which they enter the individual routes.
If you work for a travel company, bus drivers plan the optimal route before starting their journey, ensure that luggage is stowed correctly and that the galley and toilet room are fully equipped. On the trip to their destination, they are the point of contact for passengers in problems or special requests, such as an additional break. If there are changes in the arrival time or unplanned incidents such as traffic jams or accidents, they inform the passengers. They can rectify minor malfunctions and defects independently by changing tires or topping up oil. Besides, you often have the function of a tour guide during the journey.
When crossing borders, bus drivers take care of customs formalities and entry requirements and ensure that the safety of passengers is guaranteed at all times by making sure that everyone is buckled up and luggage is safely stowed.
Average salary: how much does a bus driver make?
Bus drivers in the United States make an average salary of $34,000 per year or $16 per hour. The lowest earned less than $26,500, and the highest earned more than $41,000.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bus driver responsibilities and requirements
Bus drivers must have a high level of concentration and ability to react at all times, as road traffic with its many unpredictable routes always requires full attention. Bus drivers responsibly orient themselves to the applicable rules of the road traffic regulations, pay attention to the legally prescribed rest periods, and assess and avoid possibly dangerous situations in advance.
They have strong skills in driving and maneuvering large vehicles and a proper technical understanding to assess the driveability of their car and diagnose any defects. Bus drivers are good at dealing with the physical challenges of their job, which primarily result from long hours of sitting and irregular working hours in shift work, and when traveling, they are often absent from home for days.
Since you are the direct contact person for the passengers and are therefore in constant contact with people, a friendly, customer-oriented appearance and good communication skills are essential characteristics of a bus driver. They must be able to respond constructively to critical statements or complaints about changes to the timetable or delays and to be able to provide passengers with competent information at any time. Bus drivers ideally have a trained eye for the processes in the interior of their vehicle. They can cater to very different groups of people individually, from school children to senior travel groups.
Care when keeping the logbook and selling and checking the tickets. A sure mastery of road and traffic law regulations is also an essential characteristic of a qualified bus driver. A well-groomed appearance and good communication skills in contact with other areas, such as the control center or workshop (for example, in the event of malfunctions or defects), round off the requirement profile of bus drivers.
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