Want to drive for a living but don’t want to drive trucks?
Have you thought about driving buses?
There are a wide variety of driving jobs if you take the career of a bus driver. So let’s have a look at what type of jobs are available and also the licence and authorisations you will need.
City Buses/Scheduled Services
These are the buses you see running the schedule services around most metropolitan areas dropping off and picking up passengers at designated stops over a pre-defined route.
There are quite number of jobs in this field with companies training you how to operate their vehicles and perform the duties of a bus driver.
On the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads areas these services are run under contract with Surfside Buslines being the best place to look for available jobs. In Brisbane the bus fleet is run by the council themselves. With Clarks Logan City Bus Service in the Logan City council area.
To drive these buses in most cases you will need a Medium Rigid Licence as a minimum however some of these companies require a Heavy Rigid licence you can drive the bigger buses such as the double decked ones on the Gold Coast. Also you may need to drive a bendy bus these can be driven on a Heavy Rigid licence.
Inter and Intra State Coaches
One of the biggest names in this market is Greyhound with long distance services throughout Australia. There are also a number of other smaller companies running scheduled services between towns such as Toowoomba and Brisbane.
With this role you will be on the road traveling through regional centres and major cities with drop offs in these centres. An important part of the role will be your interaction with the passengers making sure that they have a comfortable journey.
Coaches are usually a Heavy Rigid vehicle as they are required to carry the extra weight of the passenger’s luggage and are usually built to carry the maximum number of passengers.
If you are looking for employment we would recommend a HR Licence as this will be the requirement for most coaches you will drive.
The best known charter bus company on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane would be Murray’s Coaches. While not exclusively charter as they do have some scheduled services most of their work is as charters. Another company that operates in the space is Koala Coaches.
This role often involves doing one of jobs with one of the most high profile transporting the Queensland State of Origin team to ground from their hotel. Less glamorous would be moving large groups such as school groups to sporting events or camps, Conference delegates between venues etc. While most of the work will be relatively local there may be long distance components for example taking a school group to the snow and being there transport for the week.
The vehicles you will drive will vary from a car Licence sized mini bus to a full size coach. To ensure you are attractive to these companies obtaining your HR Licence would be your best option as it will allow you to drive all the vehicles in the fleet.
Private Contract Driver
This is an area that crosses into both coach operators and charter services. With the significant amount of mining projects in both Queensland and Western Australia there are a number of jobs moving workers to and from site on a daily basis or doing a run for a mining company.
This work may be on a fly in fly out basis where you live and work on the mine site or could be structured around a local resident doing the work.
The size of vehicle you drive in this type of work will vary from Light Rigid buses such as the Toyota Coaster with 25 seats to a 67 seat coach requiring a Heavy Rigid Licence. One difference with this work is you will not be carrying the general public but employees of the mining company. You will also note as you may be operating on the mine site itself there may be a large number of work place health and safety requirements you may not be used to.
Tours and Tour Guide
This role is much more than just being the bus driver you are delivering the customer a total experience. Contiki tours would be one of the best known companies however there are many more catering different age groups. While you may have a tour guide that looks after customers along for the ride with you are a very important part of the customer experience or you may be the guide and driver.
There are a variety of roles from local tours to snow tours or your Contiki style multi city tour.
Again depending on the role or group size you may only need a Light Rigid licence but may need to drive a coach need a Heavy Rigid Licence.
There are a number of school runs that are run by a variety of operators from the council bus service provider, charter operators establishing a school run linking a few schools together or in some cases the school owns and operate its own service looking after the needs of its students.
This work will by its nature operate over the school term with the work being before and after school. If you are after a part time role this could be the job for you.
A Medium Rigid Licence would cover the vehicles you need to drive as Heavy Rigid vehicles are not usually employed in this role.
Along with the appropriate drivers Licence you will also require a drivers authorisation that allows you to carry paying passengers. This is applied for through Transport and Main Roads in Queensland who will require a medical and for you to obtain a blue card as if there are children on the bus you will need this.
There are different authorisations for both chartered and scheduled services however our recommendation would be to obtain authorisation for both categories as this will allow for more flexibility with your work and will most likely be a requirement of most companies.
When operating interstate services it will be best to check with the state authority in which you plan to drive to ensure you have the correct authority. For example Surfside bus lines require to have both a Queensland and NSW Drivers Authorisation as you are picking up in both states.
Fortunately there is mutual recognition between the states so you can take your QLD authorisation into the NSW Road and Maritime Service and apply for the NSW authorisation.
If you have a New South Wales drivers licence you need to undertake an approved course then apply for your driver’s authorisation through the RMS.
A driver’s authorisation can be applied for prior to you obtaining your licence as it can take a bit of time to obtain as they will conduct a Police check.
But I can’t find a bus to get my licence in.
There is actually no distinction between a truck and bus licence they are both classified as a Heavy Vehicle Licence. So even if you get your licence in a truck you are allow to drive a bus you just can’t take paying passengers until to have a driver’s authorisation.
The majority of driving schools will have trucks for you to obtain your licence in as a bus is not the most practical vehicle for you to obtain a licence in. You will find some LR buses used by driving schools but for MR and above your training will be conducted in a truck.
So if you’re looking for a career change have a look at the variety of bus driving roles around and there may be one that suits you.
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