Duties and responsibilities
A charter bus driver, also known as a motor coach driver, is a bus driver who is responsible for providing comfortable and safe transportation to people on chartered tours or trips. Their typical duties and responsibility include:
- Addressing passenger complaints in a polite and professional matter
- Keeping the tour on schedule
- Accounting for all passengers and recording no shows
- In some cases, they may also play the role of tour guide
- Keep passengers informed of possible delays
- Perform basic maintenance (check the bus tires, lights, and oil)
- Keep the bus clean and presentable to the public
To become a charter bus driver, you will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Typically, you will need to be at least 18 years old, but to drive across state lines you need to be at least 21 years old. Before being employed, it is likely that you will need to undergo a background check. You will need to have a commercial drivers license, which you can either achieve prior to applying for roles or try and find roles that offer a CDL as part of their training.
All charter bus drivers will have some training that includes practicing various maneuvers with a bus on a driving course. They will begin to drive in light traffic and then eventually make practice runs on the type of route that they expect to drive.
Skills and relevant work experience
Charter bus drivers should enjoy interacting with others, as a large part of their role involves interacting with customers. They should also have skills such as:
- Customer service skills, as charter bus drivers have to interact with passengers on a daily basis and provide high quality tours
- Organization skills, charter bus drivers need to organize the tour schedule
- Physical health, as some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, may interfere with the safe operation of passenger vehicles.
- Patience, as bus drivers must remain calm and composed when driving through heavy traffic and congestion or when dealing with rude passengers.
- Bus drivers must have good hearing (federal regulations require bus drivers to have the ability to hear a forced whisper in one ear at 5 feet, with or without the use of a hearing aid) and good vision (20/40 vision with a 70-degree field of vision in each eye and the ability to distinguish colors on a traffic light).
- Dexterity, as bus drivers must watch their surrounds and operate a vehicle to avoid hazards. Federal regulations require bus drivers to have normal use of their arms and legs
The hours a charter bus driver works can vary on what tours and trips the operate. Most will work full time, but part time roles are also available. Some bus drivers will work normal working days, whereas others may have to work evenings, weekends, holiday periods and/or spend time away from home if the trips are over a few days.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for charter bus drivers is $33,340 per annum. As a whole, the lowest 10 percent of all bus drivers earned less than $26,710 per annum in 2019 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,810.
Job prospects are good for charter bus drivers, with the BLS predicting a 9% growth in employment from 2018 to 2028. This means that charter bus drivers should have an abundance of jobs available to them, with little competition.