What to Expect
Bus drivers in training need to have two key qualities: they have to enjoy
driving, and they have to like working with people.
In order to get into the training program, John Palmer had to have:
- a clean driving record
- significant skills dealing with the public
- comprehensive knowledge of his city and the surrounding area
Palmer says a typical day began in the classroom, where students learned
about air brakes. The rest of the day was spent driving the bus.
"That's the most fun!"
Jim Mester completed school bus driver training with Penn-Harris-Madison
School Corp. in Mishawaka, Indiana. He says some of the safety issues
taught during training were incredibly sobering.
"For example, we learned that kids are most vulnerable right after they
get off the bus. And the driver must continually account for their whereabouts
until they are a safe distance from the bus."
There's not much homework. Mester took home some videos that showed
the steps involved in bus inspection. "But that was really the only homework,"
When you get your first route, however, be prepared to spend time studying
maps and memorizing routes.
How to Prepare
Palmer advises high school students to get involved in activities that
will improve their people skills. During training and on the job, solid
people skills help drivers deal with negotiation and harassment issues
on the bus.
Mester recommends talking to bus drivers in the area. They'll be
able to give you the inside scoop on training, jobs and the day-to-day business
of bus driving.