Bus Drivers - Would you recommend it?

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MDCW

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I've been offered a job with Stagecoach.

I'm in two minds as to whether to accept or not. Its not a big town, so shouldn't be too stressful.

I know the money isn't great, £25k for a 43 hour week. Is there much scope for financial increases as the career progresses?

To those already doing the job would you recommend it?
 
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anthony263

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If you enjoy it or can deal with a lot of the stress then yes.

You do have good days with the job
 

M803UYA

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As an enthusiast who has made a career in the industry I'd say it isn't the best industry to be in. When I compare what it was like when I started, to what I contend with now it's something I regret. It was fun when I started, but by the time I finished working in the office it was just an endless stream of paperwork, constant firefighting and hacked off people never happy with anything. Union officials because you've messed up the working lives of their members (for the 5th time this year), upper management because the schedule you originally put forward has altered during negotiations to the point the required cost savings now won't be achieved....

Certainly making a career out of it can sap your enthusiasm to the point you're no longer enthused about things you work with every day. Companies now treat their staff as numbers and have little concern (despite what they preach publicly) for their well-being - it's simply about making money and having someone in the seat to drive the vehicle. Stagecoach are one of the worst in that respect, highly efficient users of vehicles and their people and a complete lack of care towards their needs.

That said there are some positives - you see a different view each day and you meet different people. But having to deal with your fellow ignorant road users (whilst not snapping back at them) and some customers is what makes the job not worth doing, especially for the poor pay on offer. You can earn the same stacking shelves on a night shift in a supermarket, but have less responsibility. Lorry drivers are better paid but work slightly longer hours to earn that money. Whereas they could be paid properly and work around 40 hours.

I have other enthusiast friends who've made a career from their hobby (at different levels) and few of them consider they made the right choice and most regret doing it. In many cases it's taken a toll on their mental health, certainly it has with me and I no longer work full time.

But I know people who really enjoy going to work and driving. It's a choice you alone need to make.
 
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If my maths is right 25 k for 43 hours is 11 quid an hour, not bad by modern standards. In real terms I was making way more than that in 1985.

Are those 43 hours all driving? There are so many variables, is it split shifts,remote clock ons?

I would ask to have a look at the rota you will be on to get an idea of the hours you will be driving. How long do they expect you to be on the road without a break? 5 1/2 hours is the limit, and it's not unusual.

There will be opportunities for advancement, if only because the rewards/ stress levels mean they struggle to retain staff.

I suppose it also depends on how happy and rewarded you are in your current job.

Bus driving is an unsocial hours retail job where you are also expected to drive a bus and isn't be paid accordingly.
 

75A

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If my maths is right 25 k for 43 hours is 11 quid an hour, not bad by modern standards. In real terms I was making way more than that in 1985.

Are those 43 hours all driving? There are so many variables, is it split shifts,remote clock ons?

I would ask to have a look at the rota you will be on to get an idea of the hours you will be driving. How long do they expect you to be on the road without a break? 5 1/2 hours is the limit, and it's not unusual.

There will be opportunities for advancement, if only because the rewards/ stress levels mean they struggle to retain staff.

I suppose it also depends on how happy and rewarded you are in your current job.

Bus driving is an unsocial hours retail job where you are also expected to drive a bus and isn't be paid accordingly.
And deal with the general public, no thanks.............................
 

M803UYA

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Are those 43 hours all driving? There are so many variables, is it split shifts,remote clock ons?

I would ask to have a look at the rota you will be on to get an idea of the hours you will be driving. How long do they expect you to be on the road without a break? 5 1/2 hours is the limit, and it's not unusual.

There will be opportunities for advancement, if only because the rewards/ stress levels mean they struggle to retain staff.
I'd say it was longer on a driving spell, with Stagecoach. They are very fond of the domestic loophole which permits driving stints longer than 5hours 30 minutes because the layover time (time between trips) is always considered 'break' - so it's not unusual to find a driving spell longer than that, and for it to be legal. You don't many things to go wrong early in the driving spell for you to be chasing your tail for 5 hours, which itself is a source of stress.

Also worth considering is the length of time of your shift, from start to end. You might only be paid for 10 hours but find your spreadover is 13 hours as not all breaks on the shift will be paid.

You'd need to see the rota you'd be on, but whether the company will let you see is another thing. Even then, the rota won't show the content of the duties, just a duty number, start and finishing time.

It's all well and good me offering free advice, some people love working for Stagecoach and stay a very long time. Others start with them and find somewhere else to work after a while because of the culture of the place and the working conditions.
 

notadriver

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A
I've been offered a job with Stagecoach.

I'm in two minds as to whether to accept or not. Its not a big town, so shouldn't be too stressful.

I know the money isn't great, £25k for a 43 hour week. Is there much scope for financial increases as the career progresses?

To those already doing the job would you recommend it?
If they are training you up and giving you the pcv licence beware of any clauses where you have to pay back any training costs of you leave before 2 years.
 

Statto

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I'd say it was longer on a driving spell, with Stagecoach. They are very fond of the domestic loophole which permits driving stints longer than 5hours 30 minutes because the layover time (time between trips) is always considered 'break' - so it's not unusual to find a driving spell longer than that, and for it to be legal. You don't many things to go wrong early in the driving spell for you to be chasing your tail for 5 hours, which itself is a source of stress.

Also worth considering is the length of time of your shift, from start to end. You might only be paid for 10 hours but find your spreadover is 13 hours as not all breaks on the shift will be paid.

You'd need to see the rota you'd be on, but whether the company will let you see is another thing. Even then, the rota won't show the content of the duties, just a duty number, start and finishing time.

It's all well and good me offering free advice, some people love working for Stagecoach and stay a very long time. Others start with them and find somewhere else to work after a while because of the culture of the place and the working conditions.

Yeah, shifts for the day can start 4-5am & finish midnight-1am,[ although you won't be working 4am though until 1am:D], be wary of early starts & late finishes, which can play havoc with sleeping patterns, plus Stagecoach can operate very long routes from the depot, typically taking over 2 hours for a full journey, although i think you'll drive one full journey each way, it's not ideal if you need a toilet break halfway through.


I say this for everyone who thinks about driving buses, if you have the time, it's worth buying ticket & ride every route from the depot you plan to be based at, i know Stagecoach give route learning during training, but it's worth doing a day out, to gain more route knowledge of the routes from the depot you want to be based at operates

I know someone who ended up working for First Group about 10 years ago, his shift pattern was 4 days on & 2 off, he left at the first[no pun intended] opportunity he could as he got fed up working weekends.
 
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I'd say it was longer on a driving spell, with Stagecoach. They are very fond of the domestic loophole which permits driving stints longer than 5hours 30 minutes because the layover time (time between trips) is always considered 'break' - so it's not unusual to find a driving spell longer than that, and for it to be legal. You don't many things to go wrong early in the driving spell for you to be chasing your tail for 5 hours, which itself is a source of stress.

I am aware of this but have never worked it, just checked and it's 8 30 with total " breaks" of 45 minutes, I assume this could be 3 x 15 minutes. Worth the OP checking and if he is happy with this.

Do these 15 minutes have to actually exist or just be timetabled? I once had a manger tell me that my 30 minute break didn't mean I had to have access to a toilet or somewhere to eat, it only had to exist on the rota. My second word to him was " off".

OP, I tend to be a cantankerous our chap and it's not all bad, but I hope what we have said gives you a realistic idea of how the industry is run. It's not all bad,it's a great job to meeting young ladies, or men if that's your thing.
 

Eyersey468

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I've been offered a job with Stagecoach.

I'm in two minds as to whether to accept or not. Its not a big town, so shouldn't be too stressful.

I know the money isn't great, £25k for a 43 hour week. Is there much scope for financial increases as the career progresses?

To those already doing the job would you recommend it?
Congratulations on your job offer OP. I have worked in the industry for 14 years. The behaviour of some road users, and come to that passengers, can be very wearing so you develop a bit of a thick skin after a while. The main gripes a lot of drivers have is pay and some shifts might be 12 hours long but get paid 9. No harm in giving it a try.
 

MDCW

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Do you have plans to join the railway in the future MCDW?
Yes, I've been applying for years. Passed a few interviews, but never got the offer. There are mixed opinions on whether experiance with buses can help a rail application though. Any thoughts?
 

notadriver

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Yes, I've been applying for years. Passed a few interviews, but never got the offer. There are mixed opinions on whether experiance with buses can help a rail application though. Any thoughts?

It definitely helps however just watch the two year clause which ties you in. Which type of railway jobs have you been applying for?
 

anthony263

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I applied for a trainee train drivers position with fgw back in 2013 as well as a customer host position on the Luton.airport bus link. Just missed out on both but had a call from the manager who interviewed me for the customer host job and asked me did I fancy the trainee bus driver position in Worcester.

Took it been driving buses since then and have worked for a few operators including NX on coaches now working for Adventure Travel whom I say have been the est I've worked for
 

Citistar

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As an enthusiast who has made a career in the industry I'd say it isn't the best industry to be in. When I compare what it was like when I started, to what I contend with now it's something I regret. It was fun when I started, but by the time I finished working in the office it was just an endless stream of paperwork, constant firefighting and hacked off people never happy with anything.

100% this comment. Working at an office level in the bus industry is now an endless stream of thankless and predominantly pointless paperwork which is getting progressively worse at an astonishing speed.

Driving is a different matter. If you can cope with the likes of GreenRoad and "smart" ticket machines bleeping at you every 20 seconds, whilst keeping a bus full of punters happy and doing it all safely, you're a better pilot than me!
 

MDCW

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It definitely helps however just watch the two year clause which ties you in. Which type of railway jobs have you been applying for?
Started off with driver. Made it all the way through DMI but fell on one question at MMI. Since I've applied for guard, Rail operator, station ambassador, shunter and trainee driver again. Passed the interview for a few of those, but as I say, never got the offer. Always a "close second"
 

Aictos

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One thing about being a bus driver that I would struggle with in my home city is dealing with cash and giving the right change, least in Birmingham it's exact change and the driver has no access to the cash.

The other thing that I wonder how they do it is route learning, do companies just keep you on one or two routes when you first start or are you expect to sign all routes?
 

richw

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I was told when I started by an old head, you’ll either love it and be in the job for life, or hate it and quit as soon as the training bond expires. This theory is definitely reflected amongst my workplace with lots of long service colleagues.

I’m in the love it category, yes there are bad days, but overall it’s mostly good days.
As long as you do stuff properly and don’t damage the buses you’ll get left alone to get on with it, and rarely see management as you’re out on the road away from everyone else.
 

Eyersey468

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I was told when I started by an old head, you’ll either love it and be in the job for life, or hate it and quit as soon as the training bond expires. This theory is definitely reflected amongst my workplace with lots of long service colleagues.

I’m in the love it category, yes there are bad days, but overall it’s mostly good days.
As long as you do stuff properly and don’t damage the buses you’ll get left alone to get on with it, and rarely see management as you’re out on the road away from everyone else.
I agree with this, I have been in the job 14 years and love it, especially now I am back on the long distance coaches
 

notadriver

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Started off with driver. Made it all the way through DMI but fell on one question at MMI. Since I've applied for guard, Rail operator, station ambassador, shunter and trainee driver again. Passed the interview for a few of those, but as I say, never got the offer. Always a "close second"

Keep trying - a friend of mine who has sadly passed away aged 38 - never achieved his dream of being a train driver. He and his partner did join the railway as platform staff but both left for coach driving. He later got his HGV licence. He turned to that as covid hit the coaching industry.

The one thing I’ve found is the bus industry requires you to work a lot of hours, some unpaid. Time off doesn’t approach what you get on the railway. Something to bear in mind perhaps.
 

MDCW

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I was told when I started by an old head, you’ll either love it and be in the job for life, or hate it and quit as soon as the training bond expires. This theory is definitely reflected amongst my workplace with lots of long service colleagues.

I’m in the love it category, yes there are bad days, but overall it’s mostly good days.
As long as you do stuff properly and don’t damage the buses you’ll get left alone to get on with it, and rarely see management as you’re out on the road away from everyone else.
Thats good to know. How many hours a week do you do? what is it you enjoy in particular?

I agree with this, I have been in the job 14 years and love it, especially now I am back on the long distance coaches
I think i'd enjoy it. If only the money was better!
 

darloscott

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I’ve been in the industry for 11 years now (crazy!) and still enjoy it every day. I am in a different place to where I started though having driven for two of the big groups and then moved onto a tiny operator where I was given experience of helping to run the business. Now moved onto a family coach company and it’s a completely different world, though I have a built a local bus service too. Currently sat out on a late contract (finish about half 1am!) but we all take turns and share the work out between us so it’s fine. A typical week could see me on schools, service bus, maybe a day trip at the weekend or down the country on a trip. The work is so varied, yes the pay isn’t great but when it comes to the summer holidays like now we get lots of time off paid so it’s swings & roundabouts. I still enjoy it every day and working at a family firm like I’m at now is just so chilled out, as I say it’s a completely different world.
 

507021

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Stagecoach is a good company to work for from what I've heard.

On the whole I enjoyed my time as a bus driver, but I left the industry earlier in the year and got a job which allows me to spend more time with my family.
 

MDCW

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Stagecoach is a good company to work for from what I've heard.

On the whole I enjoyed my time as a bus driver, but I left the industry earlier in the year and got a job which allows me to spend more time with my family.
I've heard good things too. What job did you go on to do? Many say it's not an easy job to move on from.

I’ve been in the industry for 11 years now (crazy!) and still enjoy it every day. I am in a different place to where I started though having driven for two of the big groups and then moved onto a tiny operator where I was given experience of helping to run the business. Now moved onto a family coach company and it’s a completely different world, though I have a built a local bus service too. Currently sat out on a late contract (finish about half 1am!) but we all take turns and share the work out between us so it’s fine. A typical week could see me on schools, service bus, maybe a day trip at the weekend or down the country on a trip. The work is so varied, yes the pay isn’t great but when it comes to the summer holidays like now we get lots of time off paid so it’s swings & roundabouts. I still enjoy it every day and working at a family firm like I’m at now is just so chilled out, as I say it’s a completely different world.
Sounds like you've got a good thing going on there
 

richw

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Thats good to know. How many hours a week do you do? what is it you enjoy in particular?
Roughly 40, guarantee minimum 39 hours, pick up some overtime most weeks which obviously is optional.
 

Eyersey468

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Thats good to know. How many hours a week do you do? what is it you enjoy in particular?


I think i'd enjoy it. If only the money was better!
On our local bus side the weekly guarantee is 38 hours, coaching is 162 hours a month (I think) and National Express is 195 hours a month
 

Journeyman

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I've known a few people who have found driving buses to be far too stressful, and have given up pretty quickly. It's widely considered one of the most stressful jobs out there.
 
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Bus driving is as stressful as you want it to be, if you race around trying to keep unrealistic times and bite when other motorists or passengers are trying to wind you up then it will be stressful. If you can let this all wash over you or better still, give it back in a manner that won't come back to bite you, it can be great! I left for a band 3 job in the NHS, money a bit better, less hours, conditions way better, greater opportunity for advancement and at least they treat you like a human being.
 

notadriver

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Bus driving is as stressful as you want it to be, if you race around trying to keep unrealistic times and bite when other motorists or passengers are trying to wind you up then it will be stressful. If you can let this all wash over you or better still, give it back in a manner that won't come back to bite you, it can be great! I left for a band 3 job in the NHS, money a bit better, less hours, conditions way better, greater opportunity for advancement and at least they treat you like a human being.

I’m not sure from what you’ve just said whether you are encouraging or discouraging a bus driving career. Band 3 seems to be about 21k a year. Surely buses pay better ? But as this is a railforum - didn’t a job driving trains appeal at all?
 
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