How Do I Find Charter Bus Driver Jobs?

Research what it takes to become a charter bus driver. Learn about the duties of this job, the education requirements and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Charter Bus Driver?

Charter bus drivers use a bus to transport passengers from one destination to another. They may work for tour companies or provide transportation for special events, such as a special service to take people to and from a sports game. They may also be hired to take a group on a special trip. Charter bus drivers are responsible for maintaining their vehicle and keeping it clean. They also must follow all traffic laws, and must plan out their routes. If they have any mechanical concerns about the vehicle they need to report them.

Education Required High school diploma
Licensure State commercial driver's license with passenger endorsement
Key Responsibilities Navigate roads and safely drive passengers to and from destinations on schedule; maintain safe conditions and interact with passengers; keep vehicle and relevant records
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6% (for all bus drivers)*
Mean Salary (2015) $30,580 (for all school or special client bus drivers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Is Needed For a Charter Bus Driver Job?

You don't need a college degree to drive a charter bus, but you must have a clean driving record. You'll usually need to participate in formal, company-sponsored training programs. You can find these programs offered by many bus companies, and the training could last up to eight weeks. Classroom training involves teaching you how to interact with customers, maintain records and read schedules.

Your training program will involve learning vehicle operating procedures through hands-on practice. Special driving courses allow you to develop the skills needed to turn, maneuver and back up a large vehicle. You'll also spend some time driving in light traffic conditions on public roadways. Eventually, as your skill improves, you'll operate buses on crowded streets and freeways. Some companies require you to take additional training courses designed to keep you informed of equipment changes or new safety regulations.

What Job Duties Will I Have?

Some of your duties entail checking your vehicle for adequate water, oil and gasoline levels before departing, loading and unloading luggage, offering assistance to passengers as they board or disembark from the bus and ensuring that passengers behave in an orderly manner. You'll be required to handle any passenger or mechanical emergencies that might occur, as well as perform safe driving practices and observe state-specific traffic laws.

If necessary, you could take on the role of tour guide or customer service specialist. In this capacity, you'd need to be familiar with local attractions of interest to your particular group of passengers. You must also adjust heating, air conditioning and lighting systems appropriately to facilitate the comfort of your riders. Your employer could expect you to participate in tour and route planning with management and other drivers. You'll need to maintain and submit reports and driving logs per company regulations.

Is There a Special Driver's License?

State and federal statutes demand that you acquire a commercial driver's license with a passenger endorsement. The licensing process involves successfully completing two tests. The first is a state-administered skills examination that requires that you to demonstrate your ability to safely drive a commercial motor coach. The second is a written examination that assesses your knowledge of the rules of the road, as well as state and federal regulations.

According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you must have good vision and hearing, and you'll need to take a physical examination every two years. To drive a charter bus out of the state, you must be at least 21 years old, though some companies might have additional age restrictions. Companies and federal laws might also prohibit you from interstate driving if you have health issues or you've been convicted of a driving-related felony. You need to speak and read English well and could be required to submit to periodic drug testing.

Where Can I Find Work?

You can find full-time, part-time and for-hire employment opportunities through national charter bus companies, such as Arrow Stage Lines and Trailways, or local, tourism-based rental businesses within your city. Previous experience driving a bus or other large vehicle could be beneficial to acquiring a position. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, your job options as a charter bus or motor coach driver typically vary based on economic sustainability and tourist seasons (www.bls.gov).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

School bus drivers and transit bus drivers perform the same duties as charter bus drivers. They have the same training requirements; they need a commercial driver's license, may need to pass a background check, complete on-the-job training and meet the hearing, vision and physical requirements for the job. They are all responsible for maintaining their vehicles and keeping them clean. They all operate buses and use them to transport passengers from one location to another. The key difference is that school bus drivers pick up and drop off students at their homes and schools only, and work on a predetermined route that doesn't change day to day. Charter bus drivers may drive different routes every day. Transit bus drivers also follow predetermined routes that are established by their employer, while charter bus drivers drive passengers to and from locations of the passengers' choosing.

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