How to Become a

Public Transit Bus Driver

The complete career guide to be a Public Transit Bus Driver: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,160
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.8%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

A public transit bus driver is responsible for transporting people from one point to another for various purposes, such as work, school or leisure. He or she also makes route announcements, takes fares from passengers, hands them receipts, and ensures safe travel for passengers.

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What is a Public Transit Bus Driver?


Public transit bus drivers typically perform the following essential tasks on a daily basis:

  • Operating small, medium and large public transit buses when necessary for a scheduled or demand/response route efficiently and safely;
  • Monitoring and maintaining all equipment, the road and passengers throughout the day and take any action to keep bus riders as well as the public from harmful situations.
  • Actively using two-way radio for regular communication between transit vehicles and the base station on any special or necessary instructions.
  • Accommodating and supporting the loading and unloading of passengers with special needs and those that are wheelchair bound.
  • Recording the bus mileage on documentation for record-keeping, keeping track of ridership in daily worksheets, flagging any issues that arise with the vehicle and related equipment.

Day In The Life

As a public transit bus driver, you have to be highly motivated and able to work unsupervised for long hours. Through the day, you are expected to transport persons from one place to another in a public transit bus with the utmost professionalism. Your routes schedule is usually fixed, and you must announce next destinations to passengers as they are close by. Sometimes, the bus may be on hire for chartered trips or any sightseeing tours, during which time you must transport passengers.

Once in a while, there might be cases of unruly or disobedient passengers, which you must report to the central dispatcher who will give you directions on how to proceed. Being customer-oriented is a must, as you will meet people from various walks of life who might require extra care and assistance, such as those with special needs or injuries. You are also the person who collects money for tickets, passes and transfers while maintaining updated records of transactions made.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

Do not expect to work a standard 9 am to 5 pm job while working as a public transit bus driver. If working full-time, you will most likely be on a rotating roster for different times of the day – mornings, afternoons, evenings and other split shifts. Alternatively, part time positions provide more stability, with bus drivers working between 15-35 hours per week, with set times for the roster such as on weekdays. Between May to August, drivers have to work the maximum number of hours per week based on the Department of Transportation rules and regulations. Typically, drivers may only drive for 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days.

Growth Of The Job

With more and more Americans riding public transportation, the job outlook for public transit bus drivers is very positive. It is expected to grow 10% between the years 2012-2022, as per US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employers look for safe and friendly bus drivers to help passengers move around using public transportation. They often offer a sign on bonus for new drivers, flexible work schedules, health benefits and cross-training in the operation of all vehicle types.

Typical Employers

With rotational work schedules and assignments, most public transit bus drivers are hired by government authorities such as Lincoln County, OR, Department of the Army and the Central Intelligence Agency. The private sector has a demand for public transit bus drivers such as Transdev, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, Grace Federal Solutions LLC, Keolis Transit America, etc.

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How To Become a Public Transit Bus Driver

Graduating with a high school diploma, GED or its equivalent, and supplemented by specialised training in the operation of transit passenger buses is sufficient qualification for this profession. It is important to have a state commercial drivers’ license, along with air brake endorsement. A safe driving record and completion of courses such as accident handling, transit passenger assistance techniques, defensive driving, etc. would be particularly useful.

Applicants for such positions are sometimes required to successfully complete a thorough medical and psychological exam, and a background check. Distinguish yourself from other candidates by having the skills to operate a personal computer with standard office applications like spreadsheet, database and word processing. If you are able to carry out a wide range of driving and passenger loading/unloading assistance under tight deadlines, you will have a promising career as a public transit bus driver.

Public Transit Bus Driver Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Public Transit Bus Driver salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Public Transit Bus Driver's can make an average annual salary of $40,160, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $28,090 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #525 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Public Transit Bus Drivers

  • 0.3%   Doctorate
  • 1.4%   Masters
  • 7.5%   Bachelors
  • 7.7%   Associates
  • 28.4%   College
  • 45%   High School
  • 9.7%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Public Transit Bus Driver job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 9,800 jobs for a total of 177,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.8% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #388 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Public Transit Bus Drivers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 80,000 4,500 5%
Urban transit systems 28,300 800 1%
Charter bus industry 18,700 700 1%

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