Becoming a Bus Driver

Discussion in 'Buses & Coaches' started by LukeCymru, 20 Aug 2019.

  1. LukeCymru

    LukeCymru Member

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    I'm thinking of applying to be a bus driver with Stagecoach. I was wondering if anyone on here could share their experiences of being trained by Stagecoach and just more generally if the exams are hard and what exactly is required for each one? Thanks all in advance
     
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  3. Mwanesh

    Mwanesh Member

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    They are looking for drivers at all depots.Give it a go . Training school is at Blackwood . The tests are done at Cwmbran . It is a Dart for training but rumour has it the Optare Tempos are being converted to training vehicles . Training days are spent driving down bus routes in the valleys to give you a feel of where you will be working . Some of the bus routes in Cwmbran are a bit challenging .
     
  4. NorthernSpirit

    NorthernSpirit On Moderation

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    I'm going to add this to the thread.

    If one has a full automatic car licence, can you still do the PCV test to get the PCV licence?
     
  5. Mwanesh

    Mwanesh Member

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    Yes you can. Some depots use the fitters vans or small cars when you do your driving assessment. They will try to accomodate you if they are really desperate.
     
  6. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    You can, but your PCV licence will have an auto only restriction on it.

    Some bus companies will want you to have a manual licence. As Mwanesh says you may be assessed in a manual vehicle and the job may well require you to drive a manual car for ferrying purposes. Some coaches and minibuses (if you go for a D1) are manual too so your work opportunities may be restricted by having an auto car licence.
     
  7. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    I can't speak for Stagecoach, but can offer a view of becoming a qualified PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) driver. There's more initial hoops to jump through than one might expect to get qualified.

    Requirements:
    • Catergory B (car) licence
    • Medical test
    • DCPC part 1 - theory
    • DCPC part 2 - case studies
    • DCPC part 3 - driving ability
    • DCPC part 4 - practical test
    DCPC is a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence. You can carry passengers with just parts 1 and 3, but also need parts 2 and 4 if you want to be paid for doing so with a company. Additionally it is far less risky for a bus company to take you on if you've had a car licence for at least two years. This is because it gets revoked if you get 6 points within two years of getting one.

    Category B (car licence)
    Have it for two years, preferably clean. A manual licence is recommended because you might have to drive manual vehicles for assessment and ferrying purposes.

    Medical test
    I presume Stagecoach would do this for you if taking you on. It primarily tests your physical mobility, eyesight, blood pressure and sugar. Certain conditions mean your driving licence application will be restricted or rejected. If you do it independently, don't get ripped off. My GP charges £210 for doing it which is about 15 minutes work and a form filling exercise, but I found another GP practice that did it for £45.

    DCPC part 1 - Theory

    These will be similar to the multiple choice and hazard perception you may have done your car licence, only longer and with stricter pass criteria.

    The multiple choice has 100 questions and you'll need to get 85% right. The majority of it is things like road signs and makrings, the kind of stuff you may have picked up through life travelling on the road. A smaller percentage is questions specific to PCVs. I studied from the The Official DVSA Theory Test for Drivers of LGV / PCV Book. Stagecoach might teach you in a classrom based environment.

    The hazard perception is video based and you'll need to indicate when you see developing hazards. The sooner you spot them, the more marks you get. You'll need to get 67 marks out of 100 to pass. I practiced with The Official DVSA Guide to Hazard Perception DVD-ROM. But again, I presume Stagecoach will have computers for you to practice on.

    DCPC part 2 - Case Studies
    This is a computer based test with scenarios you may come across as a bus driver and you have to select the best course(s) of action from the options given. You need 40 marks out of 50 to pass.

    DPC part 3 - Driving Ability
    You will need to take driving lessons in a bus that's at least 10 metres long. You'll need a good sense of spatial awareness and to understand the physics of how the bus moves and turns. You'll need to drive smoothly for just shy of 2 hours without any serious or dangerous faults - and do your very best to remember what your trainer taught you and not emulate how bus drivers drive in reality as you will fail your test if you do the latter. You do not go onto Youtube and try and drive like the supa dupa kickdown rinsing drivers on there otherwise Stagecoach will probably ask you to leave the premises permanently once your test is done without saying please if you do that.

    DCPC part 4 Practical Test
    This is a test with an actual bus at a test centre where you'll be asked to point out 5 areas of the bus and state 4 potential hazards or malfunctions with them. Or state 4 things you need to do when checking the bus. You'll need 15 marks out of 20 to pass.

    As for whether the exams are hard, they are passable but as with anything you'll need to practice and prepare thoroughly. I passed all of them first time as failure to prepare costs a lot of money and can lose you income. For the driving practical, only take it when you are ready and can drive in a relaxed, but alert state.
     

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