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Bus driver

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Summary of occupation

Bus drivers transport people to and from various locations in buses and coaches using established routes. They collect passengers at intervals along their route, and stop so that passengers can disembark at scheduled stops. They maintain radio contact with a base, control the lighting, temperature and ventilation of the bus, collect fares, issue change, and provide information to passengers about scheduled stops and destinations. Some bus drivers may also help passengers with their luggage, or use public address systems to issue important information to passengers.

ANZSCO description: Drives a bus to transport passengers short distances on scheduled intra-city services over established routes (registration or licensing is required).
Alternative names: Coach Driver
Specialisations: Charter Bus Driver, Coach Tour Driver, Long-Distance Bus Driver, Minibus Driver, School Bus Driver, Urban Bus Driver
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A bus driver needs:

  • a good sense of direction
  • the ability to work with people from a range of backgrounds
  • a friendly and courteous manner
  • good driving skills and a knowledge of defensive driving techniques
  • good communication and people skills
  • to be responsibile and honest.
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Working conditions

Bus drivers work with large vehicles designed for public transport such as buses, coaches and trams. They usually work alone as a driver, but if operating a tourist coach, they may work alongside a tour guide. Some urban bus drivers may also be joined by security personnel on occasions. They usually work in shifts, which may include early mornings, late nights, weekends and public holidays. Their work may be stressful at times, as they may have to deal with difficult passengers, and drive during peak hour and in bad weather conditions.  Uniforms are required in this occupation.

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Salary details

Bus and coach drivers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Bus drivers may be required to drive several different models of buses. In addition to this they may need to use maps, Global Positioning Systems, log books and ticket machines.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a bus driver without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

You must be at least 21 years old to become a bus driver in Western Australia. You must obtain the relevant licence class, along with an F (bus extension), and have at least four years unrestricted driving experience. You may be required to obtain a Heavy Rigid licence depending on the size of the bus you want to drive.

​You can also become a bus driver through a traineeship in driving operations. The traineeship takes 24 months to complete. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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