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Coach Driver Profile

 
Introduction

This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Coach Driver. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Coach Driver
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Coach Driver Work Information


Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

• Bus drivers drive regular routes within one town or city, between cities and towns, or in rural areas.
• Coach drivers may drive regular routes between cities, or they may drive different routes every time, depending on the job they are given.
• Other bus and coach drivers operate school buses or community transport, usually driving minibuses.

Drivers on local routes are legally permitted to work up to ten hours on a shift, and those driving longer distances up to nine hours. Many bus and coach drivers are required to work some shifts in the evenings and at weekends. Bus and coach drivers spend most of the day sitting at the wheel of their vehicle.

Bus drivers should:

• be skilled, patient and responsible drivers
• be literate, to read traffic signs and instructions and complete forms
• be able to handle cash and give change.

There are well over 100,000 drivers working for over 6,000 bus and coach companies. At present there are more vacancies than applicants.

A bus driver must get a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence. This is possible at any age over 21, providing the driver passes the test and meets medical and health requirements.

PCV driver training lasts about five weeks. Most bus operators provide training for new recruits.

Once a PCV licence is gained, drivers can drive any bus or coach. They can progress to become a service controller or inspector, a manager or a driving instructor.

What does the role encounter?

Bus drivers may drive a:

• single-deck bus or coach on a local or city route
• large double-deck bus on a city route
• luxury coach on intercity routes
• luxury coach on holiday tours - day or week
• luxury coach tours to Europe.

Some cities are now introducing articulated single-deck buses. Bus drivers drive regular routes within one town or city, or between cities and towns or in rural areas. They stop at bus stops and bus stations to pick up and set down passengers. Coach drivers may drive regular routes between cities, or they may drive different routes every time, depending on the job they are given.

Other bus and coach drivers operate school buses or community transport, usually driving minibuses, taking groups of schoolchildren on trips or hospital patients, elderly or handicapped people to their destination.

At the start of a shift, the driver checks that their bus or coach is in good working order, ticking off each point on a checklist. They must know their route well, and make sure that they arrive at each stop on time, driving safely and legally. Drivers answer enquiries from passengers, and most drivers on regular routes take money and issue tickets. They operate doors, making sure that passengers are clear of them before closing them and moving off. They may operate special lifts for wheelchair users if their bus is fitted with them.

On longer distance express routes and tours drivers have to load passengers' luggage into the hold or luggage compartment of the coach or bus. They take responsibility for the passengers and check that they return to the coach after breaks. They may have to deal with emergencies such as illness or disputes. Some drivers give their passengers tourist information and arrange for them to visit restaurants and places of interest.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Drivers on local routes are legally permitted to work up to ten hours on a shift, and those driving longer distances up to nine hours. Many bus and coach drivers are required to work some shifts in the evenings and at weekends. Local bus routes normally begin at about 6am and finish at about midnight, but some areas, notably London, also operate night buses.

Coach drivers taking tours are away from home for one or more weeks at a time. Work for holiday and excursion coach drivers may be seasonal, with more opportunities in the summer.

Bus and coach drivers spend most of the day sitting at the wheel of their vehicle. Coach drivers get out of the cab to load and unload luggage, or to help disabled or elderly passengers. Bus drivers may only get out at tea and meal breaks. It may get hot in summer, unless driving an air-conditioned bus or coach.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• New entrants earn about £12,000 a year.
• Experienced bus drivers may earn about £18,000 a year.
• Specialist bus drivers on tours earn up to £22,000 a year.

Often coach drivers earn tips from their passengers if they are on a day excursion.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• to be skilled, patient and responsible
• sufficiently good eyesight
• good hand-to-eye co-ordination
• to be literate, to read traffic signs and instructions and to complete checklists and other forms
• to be able to handle cash and give change
• to be friendly, approachable and sensitive to the needs of passengers
• to be assertive enough to ensure passengers behave safely and consider other transport users
• to be able to keep calm under pressure
• knowledge of other languages if driving overseas.

What type of training will I receive?

Most bus operators provide training for new recruits. Driver training lasts about five weeks.

Bus drivers also receive induction training, which includes learning to operate ticket machines, route familiarisation, customer care and health and safety matters, and they have to pass a practical and theoretical driving test and a medical.

Once in a driving job, it is possible to work towards NVQ/SVQs at Level 2 or 3 in Road Passenger Transport. Individuals can progress to a Level 3 if they work on longer coach tours, which involve looking after passengers overnight.

Career Progression:

Once a PCV licence is gained, drivers can drive any bus or coach. They can progress to become a service controller or inspector, a manager or a driving instructor.
Some people become self-employed, buying a mini-bus or coach and arranging their own contracts. In this case they need to obtain a Certificate of Professional Competence (Passenger Transport).

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Coach Tour Manager
Driver: Large Goods Vehicle
Driver: Taxi
Driver: Van
Driving Instructor
Railway Train Driver
Transport Manager: Road.

Where can I find further information?

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland, County Hall, Castlerock Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry BT51 3TA. 028 7034 1461. Website: www.dvlni.gov.uk

Driving Standards Agency, Stanley House, 56 Talbot Street, Nottingham NG1 5GU. 0115 901 2500. Website: www.driving-tests.co.uk

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

The Little Red Book - published annually by Ian Allan Publishing.

Is There Another Name For This Role?

Yes. Sometimes job roles attract similar titles. Another term or title for this job might be:

Bus Driver
Coach Driver.

Other Useful Coach Driver Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Coach Driver job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Coach Driver Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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