Eight Traits to Look for in a Reliable Bus Driver
As any bus driver will tell you, transporting people from one destination to another is no simple feat. In addition to navigating complicated city streets, rowdy kids, clueless tourists, and irascible commuters all exacerbate an already high-stress work environment.
So, how do you find the best bus driver for your fleet? As the transportation industry continues to grow, so does its potential workforce — which means companies can be more selective in who they hire. To find and hire the best drivers, start by looking for those who possess the following traits:
A college degree may not be necessary for a bus driver, but a valid Class A or Class B commercial driver’s license with a passenger endorsement is. A passenger endorsement is required for anyone who drives a vehicle that transports more than 10 people. Additional requirements vary by state and may include age restrictions, minimum driving experience, medical tests, and background checks.
It goes without saying that the primary responsibility for every bus driver is to ensure their passengers arrive to their destination safely. Delve into their driving history and ask potential hires how they have previously handled stressful or emergency situations? What tactics do they employ to ensure safe and defensive driving?
The word “common” is key here. Find out how they deal with everyday instances, such as disruptive passengers, traffic, road blocks, being late. How do they maintain their calm when things go wrong? Have them define what common sense means to them.
Bus drivers may sit in the driver’s seat, but they do not work alone. They must regularly communicate with passengers, tour guides, and dispatch all while keeping their eyes on the road. Ask for concrete examples on how they are supported or support others while on the road.
Moods are contagious. Imagine working a long, hard day and being greeted by a miserable driver. Instantly, your already sour mood gets worse. Whether they realize it or not, bus drivers can instantly impact a person’s day. A simple acknowledgment, such as a smile or a nod, can go a long way and make an otherwise unhappy ride a little more bearable. Do they exhibit a good mood during the interview process? (They should.)
One of the clearest indicators that you’ve found the right hire is that they take an obvious pride in their work. The best bus drivers feel they have a stake in the operation and are committed to providing excellent service for their passengers on a daily basis. Asking a simple question like, Why did you become a bus driver? can be quite revealing.
No matter how many people are in the vehicle, the bus driver is ultimately the person in charge, which means they should be comfortable leading others and issuing instructions in a calm, yet assertive manner. Your future hire should be experienced in handling crisis situations or know how to deal with them if and when they should arise.
The ideal driver is one that respects both you and your time equally. This may be in the form of keeping the bus quiet and tidy for passengers or being on time for pickups and drop offs. Their goal should to provide a seamless and pleasant experience for their riders. Does this line of thinking come up during the interview? If it doesn’t, move on.
Finding bus drivers who fit the bill with all of these characteristics may not be a simple task, but in the long run, it will be the smarter decision. After all, they won’t just be better drivers, they will provide peace of mind for both their passengers and their employer.