Bus/Coach drivers provide a transport service for passengers making short or long journeys. They are responsible for the care, safety and comfort of their passengers.
A Bus Driver:
Some bus drivers ferry passengers on short trips by minibus, for example, from commercial car parks to airports.
A Coach Driver:
Both Bus and Coach Drivers:
European Union (EU) laws regulate hours of work, and drivers must have a 45 minute break after driving for four hours and 30 minutes. There is also a 56-hour weekly driving time limit, with a 90-hour maximum over any two weeks.
Most bus/coach drivers work shifts or rotas covering evenings, weekends, and sometimes nights. Some companies are introducing 'family-friendly shifts', with fixed hours on a rota basis. Working hours range from 39 to 45 a week, over five or six days. Part-time opportunities are increasing.
Coach drivers taking tours may be away from home for one or more weeks at a time, and may sometimes go overseas. Work for holiday and excursion coach drivers may be seasonal.
Bus/coach drivers spend most of the day sitting in the cabs of their vehicles. Some cabs are sealed off from the passenger area by security screens. Coach drivers get out of the cab to load and unload luggage, or to help disabled or elderly passengers. Bus drivers normally get out only at official tea or lunch breaks.
Some bus and coach drivers have to wear a uniform, which the company provides.
Trainees working towards the passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) licence may earn around £11,000 a year.
There are around 220,000 people employed in the bus and coach industry and, as drivers are currently an 'ageing workforce', it is predicted that there will be a need to recruit around 30,000 drivers a year over the next few years. Eighty per cent of employment in the bus industry is represented by six main companies - Arriva, First, Go-Ahead, National Express, Stagecoach and Transdev. There are vacancies throughout the UK.
Companies employing drivers may run local bus services, long distance touring coaches, or both. Other companies specialise in short ferrying services for special groups. Those working with vulnerable groups of people must provide evidence that they have no criminal record.
Jobs may be advertised in the local press, in Connexions centres and Jobcentre Plus offices, and on the websites of bus and coach companies.
The essential qualification for driving any kind of bus or coach is the PCV licence. To train for this licence, a full UK driving licence is required.
Trainee drivers usually need to be 18 or over (sometimes 21 or over), with a full, current, clean driving licence and must be in good health. A full medical is part of the recruitment and training process.
Many companies give entrants PCV training while paying them a trainee wage. Individuals who wish to arrange and pay for their own lessons and test can contact the Driving Standards Agency for further details. Application forms are available in local post offices.
There are no formal entry requirements, although employers may prefer some GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), particularly in English and maths.
Bus/coach drivers can work towards further qualifications while working. Under new EU laws, from September 2008 professional PCV and large goods vehicle (LGV) drivers will have to train for a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) and do 35 hours of training every five years. There are several NVQ's/SVQ's related to the bus and coach industry, including an NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Road Passenger Transport.
Operators provide training for new recruits. PCV driver training lasts about four to five weeks and includes a practical and theoretical driving test, as well as a medical examination.
Drivers also receive induction training, which includes operating ticket machines, becoming familiar with the route, customer care, disability awareness, defensive driving and health and safety matters.
Most operators allocate a mentor driver to new drivers, on posting to their garage or depot, to help with settling in problems and learning new routes.
As an ambulance technician you would respond to accident and emergency calls, as well as a range of planned and unplanned non-emergency cases. You would usually work in a team, providing support to a paramedic during the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients at the scene of an incident and during hospital transfers.
You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.
Bus/Coach drivers need:
After gaining a PCV licence, a driver can drive any bus or coach.
They can progress to become a supervisor, service controller or inspector, manager or driving instructor.
Confederation of Passenger Transport UK,
DVTA HQ, Balmoral Road, Belfast BT12 6QL
Tel: 028 9068 1831
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland,
County Hall, Castlerock Road, Coleraine, Co Londonderry BT51 3TB
Tel: 0845 402 4000
Driving Standards Agency, Stanley House,
56 Talbot Street, Nottingham NG1 5GU
Tel: 0115 901 2500
GoSkills, Concorde House, Trinity Park, Solihull, West Midlands B37 7UQ
Tel:0121 635 5520
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.