If you’ve ever thought about pursuing a career as a bus driver, you’ve probably wondered about employment opportunities, training requirements and working conditions … but when you get right down to it, what you really want to know is: What is a bus driver’s salary?
Bus driver salary and compensation differs depending on the company you work for. In the transportation industry, charter bus drivers are referred to as motorcoach operators. Motorcoach operators’ hourly wage can range anywhere from $10 to $20 per hour. Charter bus drivers fall within the occupation title category of “Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage comes in at $16.36, with an annual mean wage of $34,020. The annual wage is reflective of multiplying the mean hourly wage by a “year-round, full-time” range of hours at 2,080. The annual mean wage for motorcoach operators is higher than school bus drivers, special client bus drivers, delivery truck drivers, taxi drivers and chauffeurs.
Drivers’ pay is based on a couple of different factors. Many companies pay drivers based on either an hourly rate or a mileage rate. Some drivers are paid from the time they report to work until the time they return, even if they are not driving the whole time. Others are paid solely for actual time driving on the road.
A driver’s salary is dependent on specified job duties, and also the amount of hours that are worked. Charter bus drivers transport people from point A to point B, crossing state or national borders. Some drivers are responsible for regular scheduled routes, while others transport passengers through a shuttle service, charter trip or tour. The work hours of motorcoach operators are not dictated by a set schedule (with the exception of daily scheduled routes). Drivers may start early in the morning and come back late at night. Drivers are also required to work weekends and some holidays.
Overnight trips are another element to consider. It is up to the company whether or not they want to provide accommodations. Some companies pay for the driver’s overnight stay at the destination. Often times, companies that provide accommodations also provide the driver with a meal stipend. Other contracts require the chartering group to take care of the driver’s meals and accommodations. This is a useful benefit, and also something to keep in mind when applying for a charter bus driving job.
Drivers with routes that leave from and return to the same city each day are usually paid at the hourly rate. As is the case in many scenarios, “day trips” don’t always take the full day, some may take just half a day. Certain companies guarantee a minimum hourly pay rate if a single day trip falls in this category. Multiple day trip pay is often calculated in the same way. If a driver takes a trip that runs for multiple days, he or she is likely to be paid at the same rate as a single day trip. Charter trips differ slightly, as a driver’s rate is usually on an hourly basis. The hourly wage is likely to have a top rate. At most companies, drivers are also eligible for additional bonus pay. This additional compensation is dependent on both individual performance and overall company performance.
A driver’s salary and compensation is based on a range of job duties and responsibilities specific to each individual employer. The charter bus industry has the third highest level of employment within the occupation title, and the highest concentration of employment within that occupation title. As both a state and a national trend, bus driver employment is expected to grow nine percent by the year 2022. The job opportunities for becoming a motorcoach operator are very favorable. With the need for more drivers, a strong base pay rate, and opportunities for growth, the career holds great potential for those who find it fitting.