So you want to be bus driver – good decision. You’ve already obtained your MR or HR licence but you’re wondering why you need ‘bus’ training when you actually already have a licence to ‘drive’ a bus? Good question.
On the basis that you have read our previous blogs on the topic (but just in case you haven’t click here and also here) you’ll know that there are some fundamental differences between driving an bus and driving truck. You’ll also know that you’ll need to pass a driver evaluation conducted. That’s two pretty compelling reasons to commit to additional bus training in any case! But what you might not know is that bus companies can smell an applicant with no bus driving skills from a mile away.
But if you’re still in doubt as to whether there is value in specific bus training, then consider these things that Armstrongs found out from the bus industry during its last round of industry consultation:
- There is a discernible difference between the level of driver skill that an applicant with a MR licence presents with when compared with an applicant who has a HR licence. HR licenced applicants are adapt much quicker to the dimensions of a route bus than MR licenced applicants do, and for that reason some bus companies prefer that applicants have a HR licence (note to MR licence holders out there…)
- Having actual bus driving experience (including bus training) does make a difference to bus companies when considering applicants because the more experience you have behind the wheel of a bus the less time the bus company is going to have to spend with you during the workplace induction phase because they will be able to capitalise on your skills quicker and this is important. Time IS money. Those with very minimal time behind the wheel of a bus will put a lot of pressure on the bus companies training resources to bring that applicant up to an acceptable standard within an acceptable period of time. The role of a bus company’s trainer isn’t to teach new hires how to drive a bus but to ‘on-board’ new hires by getting them familiar with their new driving environment and providing very specific driver training as it relates to that job role. But teaching you how to drive a bus in general terms is not going to put a smile on the trainers face.
- Newly licenced MR and HR applicants should look to get about a solid 8 to 12 hours of bus training in a variety of route bus driving environments and conditions such as congested suburban environments where there are lot of hazards, freeways, daytime and night time driving, and in the rain where possible. Buy putting in this extended time – not only are you likely to pass your driver evaluation first time – but you will have more of an insight into the environments which are typical in a bus driving role.
- Applicants with little to no bus driving experience generally show poor vehicle control and have little defensive driving skills to speak of – particularly in heavily built up areas where there are a lot of hazards, people, school zones etcetera.
- Bus companies are critical of the applicants because it is very clear to them that that most of those “stating” they have bus driving experience quite clearly spent an hour or so driving around quiet industrial estates where there are no lights, no road markings, few intersections, hardly any traffic to speak of, and the roads are nice and wide (if you haven’t twigged on yet, this is exactly the opposite of of where you would be required to drive if you were a real bus driver!). Applicants who do their “training” in such an environment typically have issues with narrow roads and obstacles, tight turns, roundabouts, monitoring tail-swing, keeping within lanes, and show poor mirror use.
Hmmmm….by now you should be pretty clear that investing in good quality bus training that is structured with the above points in mind is an investment worth making. Bus companies EXPECT that future applicants will be pro-active in acquiring bus driving skills and think more favourable of those applicants who do.
If you want to impress the bus company during your bus driver evaluation then you only have one choice. You need to do Armstrongs 1 Day Bus Pre-Employment Training Course. The course has been developed to address all the areas that you will be expected to know and demonstrate during your driver evaluation AND you’ll also get more time behind the wheel driving in environments typical of what you could expect if you were a bus driver. Check out our bus course page and then give us call to discuss how Armstrongs is going to help you land that plumb bus driver job!