What’s a Typical Bus Driver Salary? Find Out How Much They Make

Many bus drivers have to work long hours in order to make a decent living. How much do bus drivers really earn, though? This blog post will take a look at a typical bus driver salary and what it takes for someone to become a bus driver.

The Low-down on Bus Driver Salaries

Working as a bus driver can be a rewarding and fun career.  Bus drivers in London can earn up to £42,000 however that can be after many years of driving and with loads of experience under their belt. 

We bring you insider secrets to becoming a bus driver:

  • Different routes into becoming a bus driver.
  • What the role involves.
  • How much you could earn as a bus driver.
  • Career Progression as a bus driver.

What does a bus driver do?

The role is varied and you’ll be dealing with a range of people.  In this role,  you may have to:

  • take fares and handle money;
  • check tickets and bus passes;
  • give timetable or route information and even directions;
  • help vulnerable passengers who may have difficulty getting on or off the vehicle, perhaps with mobility issues or luggage;
  • drive safely and keep to timetables;
  • keep alert and patient at all times;
  • deal with  any passengers who are taken ill during your journey.

If you’re a coach driver for day trips and holidays, you may also:

  • greet passengers and check documents;
  • work with school staff or group organisations;
  • load and unload luggage, help passengers with mobility issues;
  • make necessary tour guide announcements during the journey;
  • ensure passengers are back on board for return journeys, and after scheduled stops;
  • Carry out basic health and safety checks on the bus and passengers;
  • deal with any passengers who fall ill;
  • record driving hours and report any incidents;
  • for trips abroad, keep passengers up to date with travel information and deal with border control authorities.

routes into working as a bus driver.

There are a number of different routes into working as a bus driver, which include:

  • an apprenticeship;
  • work experience;
  • applying directly;
  • applying via a job centre/recruitment company.

Let’s take a look at the different routes more closely:

Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through an apprenticeship scheme, applying directly to the bus company.

You may also find individual training companies that offer apprenticeship schemes.

Training through a company

Apprenticeships can take around 12-14 months but mean you are earning some money while training.    

Trainee London Bus Drivers earn at least the basic London Living Wage and can have a salary of around £23k.

Entry requirements to become a bus driver:

  • Some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship;
  • Having an additional language may help you if the area you live in has a high  population of ethnic minorities;
  • Having any relevant work experience driving or dealing with customers;
  • A clean driving licence.

I’m interested – What else do I need to know?

You may wear a uniform and be expected to work shifts, including night shifts.

You’ll need to enjoy working on your own and independently.  

You must enjoy working with people and be able to stay calm as you may sometimes have to deal with some distressed passengers.

So, how much could I earn as a bus driver?

Newly qualified bus drivers earn around £10 an hour, in London, this can rise to £10-£15 per hour after a number of years and experience. 

London bus drivers are paid by TFL (Transport for London).

The average London salary for a bus driver is around £27,000 but you can earn extra through overtime, which could be at around £20 an hour.  

A typical working week as a bus driver could mean you bring home around £400-£500 per week.  But you do need rest days and can’t drive for a certain number of hours.

There are limits on how long a bus driver can work – to ensure sufficient rest is achieved for the driver.  

A bus driver should work no more than 16 hours between the times of starting and finishing work (including work other than driving and off-duty periods during the working day).  

There should be a continuous rest period of 10 between two consecutive working days. 

Are there any incentives for me?

Yes.  London bus drivers are given a bonus of £1,600 after two years of continuous service.  This is a great incentive to keep drivers on the job. 

You may well receive free transport in your area.

You can progress to working as a coach tour driver on holidays both in the UK and abroad.  

Some bus and coach companies offer health insurance and pensions. You should always receive holiday and sick pay.

In your second year, you could be looking at earning around £30,000 per year. 

There are also career progression routes which we look at further on.

Where is the best place to work as a bus driver?

Cities offer the best places to find jobs, in terms of volume of jobs and salaries.  

But they offer a challenging day with lots of traffic and people to deal with. London, Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool are top for bus driver jobs and pay.

Alternatively, you might enjoy quieter routes in the countryside, although these routes may not run as frequently.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a service controller or inspector, depot manager or driver training instructor.  

You may set up your own coach driving business operating day trips or servicing local schools.

For this, you’ll need the Transport Manager CPC in Passenger Transport. 

This could be done through a local training provider.

Getting qualified.

To start work as a bus driver you will need the following:

  • have a full car licence
  • be over 18 – but there are some exceptions
  • get a professional driving qualification called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)

Where can I find bus driver jobs in the UK?

Apply directly to Bus Companies, such as StageCoach, Arriva and National Express.

Look through job recruitment sites and job centres.

We found the following bus driver jobs at the time of writing:

  • Bus Driver through Kemp Recruitment, earning £16 per hour, based in Dartford, Kent.
  • Part-time bus driver jobs to work school hours, in Leicester, earning £187-£230 per week, though Lilium Direct Ltd.
  • A trainee bus driver for  Nottingham City Transport, earning £9.50 per hour.
  • You can sign up for job alerts through recruitment and job boards.
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