The bus driver profession is a versatile and important job that seeks new employees every year. Needed in every city, there are plenty of potential employers for the bus driver. Whether in the public sector or in a private company, the profession can be organized in different ways.
Why should I become a bus driver?
Mobility is an ever-growing sector and occupies an ever-expanding area. In general, the job of a bus driver is a diverse profession. Contact and proper communication with one’s passengers are just as important as the safe transport of guests. In addition to transporting passengers, activities such as selling tickets, sightseeing, or handing out luggage can be added.
The bus driver is the first point of contact for the guests and clarifies any issues. The responsibility is therefore high. In the case of trips lasting several days, accommodation and meals are taken care of by the client or employer.
In addition, we at AGT Bus- & Eventlogistik are observing a general trend for ecologically sustainable bus tours. Many people know that individual travel is emission-rich and expensive. Especially with the increased cost of finite resources in 2022, many people are looking for sustainable solutions to make travel greener again. Buses and their drivers have a crucial role to play in the environment and mobility of tomorrow.
Many companies are looking for new employees to do justice to the tasks and are competing for a few potential employees. The BDO (Bundesverband Deutscher Omnibusunternehmen – Federal Association of German Bus Companies) estimates that there will be up to 36,000 vacant positions to fill over the next ten years (as of 2022). To satisfy the high demand, many companies are offering above-average salaries and other benefits. In the meantime, the situation in the bus market is so tight that many companies are willing to pay for the cost of the bus driver’s license to accommodate applicants.
The training to become a bus driver
Training as a professional driver is state-recognized training and has been offered since 1973. The training lasts three years. As a rule, a secondary school leaving certificate is required, but many companies also accept trainees without a school leaving certificate. The chances of being taken on after completion of the apprenticeship are very high.
Even if the apprenticeship does not work out, the chances of finding a job are high, as there are many vacancies to be filled, especially in metropolitan areas. Apprenticeship programs are mainly carried out in the company and at school.
In the company, the trainees learn how to use the vehicle as well as their future daily routine.
On the other hand, they must be able to prove their physical and mental performance in various tests. The theoretical foundation is laid at the technical college. In addition to classical school subjects such as economics and social studies, students also learn about subjects such as passenger safety, tariff law, first aid at the scene of an accident, economic and ecological driving as well as accident and hazard management.
The apprentices achieve the use of the bus by passing the bus driver’s license, which in most cases is completed parallel to the apprenticeship. At school, the examination subjects are usually operational planning and logistics, but also classical school subjects such as economics and social studies.
The final examination at the end of the training takes place at the IHK. As a rule, the salary during the training of a professional driver in the first year of apprenticeship is between 530 and 670 euros gross. In the second year, the salary rises to 560 to 720 euros gross. In the final year of training, a prospective bus driver can expect between 600 and 800 euros gross.
Bus driver as a career changer
After years in their old job, many people switch to the bus industry and become bus drivers. The reasons for this are obvious. In addition to secure jobs, there is a wide range of potential employers. Many employers cover the costs of retraining as a bus driver. The re-training is often full-time and consists of a practical and theoretical part, whereby the practical part takes place in the company.
Instead of going to a vocational school, the theoretical part of the retraining often takes place at an alternative educational institution such as the IHK, Dekra or TÜV. As a rule, the training lasts about 1 year. The retraining is completed with an examination.
There are different ways to complete your continuing education. For example, accelerated basic training can be completed via the IHK, which is then concluded with an examination. Once you have completed the basic qualification, you are also qualified for other training occupations and can continue your training. For example, a salary of up to 4,000 euros gross per month can be earned as a master craftsman in road transport.
What does a bus driver earn?
The salary of a bus driver can vary greatly. Important factors are employer, region and work experience. According to the remuneration atlas of the Federal Employment Agency, bus drivers can expect an average salary of 3039 euros gross per month. Bus drivers in Baden-Württemberg can expect the highest salaries. Salaries of over 3400 euros gross per month are possible here. Brandenburg brings up the rear. Here the average gross salary is only 2562.
There are also differences in salary between the sexes. For example, female bus drivers earn an average of 2930 euros gross per month, which is 122 euros gross less than men with an average salary of 3052 euros gross. Usually, the public sector pays better than private companies. However, salaries differ between the individual federal states and are negotiated with the trade unions themselves.
Special features and important questions
The job of a bus driver is much more extensive than one might think. Yet there are several things that bus drivers must observe during their activities.
Rest and driving times for bus drivers
General driving times apply to all drivers. A bus driver may not drive more than 9 hours a day. A break must be taken after 4.5 hours maximum. Employers and bus drivers must ensure that the regulations are correctly executed. Failure to follow these rules can result in severe fines for both bus drivers and companies.
Behavior for bus drivers
As a bus driver professional behavior is crucial. Accidents involving buses are particularly serious due to their weight and many passengers. Especially as passengers are often not wearing seat belts. Especially at high speeds, the consequences can be fatal.
We have summarized some rules for bus driver behavior:
– A bus driver should always stay calm, relaxed and concentrate on the driving situation
– Make sure you maintain good posture even while driving
– Always drive with your seat belt fastened, if possible
– Drugs and alcohol are always prohibited
– If you do not feel well, pull over
– Adhere to all traffic regulations as well as rest and driving times
How safe is the job of a bus driver?
The bus is considered the safest means of transport according to the Federal Statistical Office. Thanks to special training, bus drivers are well prepared for the challenges of road traffic. There are also few reports of other types of accidents.
Violence against the bus driver can occur in public service. Such cases occur relatively rarely, however, if one compares the number of bus drivers employed in Germany, such cases cause a great wave of outrage and incomprehension, nevertheless. It is therefore even more important to keep the number of cases as low as possible. For this, de-escalating behavior on the part of the bus driver is important to minimize conflicts of any kind. In the event of aggressive behavior towards the bus driver or the passengers, the bus driver is allowed to expel the offender from the bus and call the police.
Meals and accommodation
On tours lasting several days with overnight accommodation, such as school trips with school classes, bus drivers are part of the tour group and usually stay in the same accommodation. Many hotels have rooms specially designed for bus drivers. In addition, drivers receive a catering flat rate for food and drink.
Tipping bus drivers
Tipping bus drivers is not unusual and older people like to give a small tip as a sign of respect and for the service. Tipping is especially common on so-called coffee tours or longer tours. However, they are not obligatory for the guests.