Being a bus driver
Is the open road calling? If you’re a people person who loves driving, we want you!
To be a bus driver you'll need:
- A friendly personality
- A full UK driving licence, which you’ve held for at least two years.
In return, you’ll get great benefits.
We also welcome applications from current PCV licence holders.
What’s it like being a bus driver?
Find out with Tracy, who’s been with East Yorkshire since 2007.
How did you get into bus driving?
I used to be a driving instructor, but after the recession hit fewer people were taking lessons, so I decided to look at other things. I love driving, but delivery driving wasn’t for me – I’d tried it in the past, and didn’t like it. So I thought I’d try bus driving. I went through the application, was offered a position, and passed my PCV test on Halloween! I started at the main Anlaby Road depot in Hull, driving on all sorts of routes. After a few years, I became a mentor, helping support new drivers.
After six years, I started training to be a relief radio operator and controller, and a short time after that I was offered the opportunity to become a driver trainer, working in the training school. Now I do assessment drives for prospective recruits, induction and driver training for new starters, and courses for existing staff. I’ve even had the chance to do teaching and education qualifications, funded by the company. If you come and work for East Yorkshire, I might be the person training you to drive!
Describe a typical day in the life of a driver
Shift times can vary a lot, but on an early shift I’d arrive at the depot in the early hours, then go straight to our ‘detailers’ or supervisors to pick up my shift card, which shows me all the journey times and when my breaks are. I’d also pick up a defect card, and then go and get my bus. I’d do a first user check – having a walk around the bus to check it, making sure all the lights and wipers are working, making various safety checks, and doing a radio check. If there are any problems, I’d make sure they are reported so they can be fixed. Then it’s nearly time to pick up my first passengers of the day – I drive down to the Interchange, which is the start point, pull into the bay, and make sure my ticket machine is all set up and my destination blind is correct, so passengers know where I’m going! Passengers board from the Interchange, and I check their passes and sell them tickets. Some people might need advice, such as where the best stop to get off the bus is, or what ticket they should buy. Then it’s time to go – we’re off! I follow my shift board for the next couple of hours, picking up and setting down passengers, and making sure I run to time.
When my break comes up, I reach the Interchange, and the next driver is waiting for me. I hand over the bus to him, making sure I warn him to watch out down Sunningdale Drive, as a dustbin lorry is in the area, so there might not be much room to pass! He tells me a notice has gone up on the noticeboard about some roadworks on the route next week – I’ll need to take a look later.
Time for lunch! It’s off to the canteen, where I can relax, eat my lunch and have a chat with the other drivers – there’s always someone to talk to, and we can share our stories of what’s happened this morning. Break times vary, depending on what time the shifts start – today I have about 45 minutes, so I have a quick check on the company intranet to find a map for a new service I’ll be driving next week. I also remember to look at the roadworks notices – there’ll be a road closure, so I need to know where the alternative route goes.
Then it’s back on the road for the second half of my shift. The highlight is when a lovely older lady gives me some sweets as she gets off the bus – that happens quite a lot! My shift finishes mid-afternoon, and I drop the bus back at the station for the next driver, and go to cash in the money I’ve taken during the shift. Then it’s home time, so I hop on the bus home (for free!), and enjoy my evening.
What sort of buses do you drive?
I get to drive all kinds of buses – double deckers, single deckers, midi-buses, buses from 6.5 tons up to 12 tons! I’ve even driven open top buses. They’re all automatics, so they’re easy to drive. Some of my colleagues are real bus enthusiasts, and have favourite bus types, but I don’t mind, I’ll drive anything!
What’s it like to work for East Yorkshire?
When I was a driving instructor, it was quite an isolated job – I’d see other instructors from time to time at test centres, but apart from that, I worked by myself, with no colleagues. Here at East Yorkshire, it’s completely different – you’re much more part of a team, but also, when you’re out on the road, you’re also your own boss, in a way – you get to make your own decisions (within reason!). If you have a problem or an issue, there’s always a supervisor a radio call away, and our manager’s door is always open if we have a problem we want to talk to them about.
What are the best things about being a bus driver?
I like the fact that when you’re driving, you’re in charge of that vehicle, and you get to make your own decisions.
I also love the interaction with customers – it’s amazing how you get to know your regular passengers, and how they get to know you. You have a nice chat with them, and find out about their lives.
The way the shifts work, you sometimes get some lovely long weekends.
Plus, you get to drive a £200,000+ vehicle – where else do you get that?!
Every job has a downside – what do you dislike about bus driving?
Shifts are different from one day to the next, so you’re working different hours. I don’t mind shifts, but some people aren’t as keen. Personally, I like early and late shifts, as you then get either the morning or the afternoon off, to do what you like with! Plus, you know what shifts you’re working months in advance, so it’s easy to plan things, as you know when you’ll be working, and when your rest days will be.
Want to be a bus driver? Check out our Join the Team page for our latest vacancies.