What does it take to be a Bus Driver?
Bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and complete a short training program. A driver must also meet hearing and vision requirements. In addition, they often need a high school diploma or the equivalent.
Bus drivers typically go through 1-to-3 months of training. Part of the training is spent on a driving course, where they practice various maneuvers with a bus. They then begin to drive in light traffic and eventually make practice runs on the type of route that they expect to drive. New drivers make regularly scheduled trips with passengers, accompanied by an experienced driver who gives helpful tips, answers questions, and evaluates the new driver's performance. Some drivers’ training is also spent in the classroom. They learn their company’s rules and regulations, state and municipal traffic laws, and safe driving practices. Drivers also learn about schedules and bus routes, fares, and how to interact with passengers.
Some employers prefer drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Opportunities for promotion are generally limited, but experienced drivers may become supervisors or dispatchers. Some veteran bus drivers become instructors of new bus drivers. Bus drivers regularly interact with passengers and must be courteous and helpful.
Federal regulations require drivers to have normal use of their arms and legs. They also need good hearing. Some regulations require the ability to hear a forced whisper in one ear at five feet (with or without the use of a hearing aid). Due to possible traffic congestion and sometimes unruly passengers, bus drivers are put in stressful situations and must be able to continue to calmly operate their bus. Federal regulations do not allow people to become bus drivers if they have a medical condition that may interfere with their operation of a bus, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy.
Bus drivers must be able to pass vision tests. Federal regulations require at least 20/40 vision with a 70 degree field of vision in each eye and the ability to distinguish colors on a traffic light.
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