Profession of a Coach Driver
Coach drivers, coach captains, or bus operators, they all occupy the position of driving buses for private tour coach businesses. Officially a Coach Driver is the person who safely transports passengers in a courteous manner for short or long journeys. In many cities around the world you can find inter-city shuttle tours on repeated city loops that have drivers work as guides occasionally, but mostly now they are equipped with multi-language audio guides installed next to each seat.
Bus drivers are fully responsible for the charter buses transporting passengers for any trip. The position requires drivers to operate vehicles for one or a number of days, subject to the booked itinerary. Drivers must inspect the coach for safety measures, and ensure that technical maintenance has been performed adequately, and bus is ready for the booking. Drivers are responsible for the safety of the passengers and must be updated and observe all latest traffic laws at all times. Drivers will have to follow the programmed journey routes from group collection till dropping them off at the end point. Coach may need to have spontaneous stops on the way if demanded by tour guides or passengers as long as it does not alter the scheduled route, so drivers need to be flexible and understand that they are serving the tour group within the booked itinerary. As employees of the tour company that provides the buses, drivers are actually the hosts and customer service agents representing the bus company. Therefore, it is essential for a successful tour to have the driver and tour leader/guide coordinating their daily schedule and cooperating in order to keep the trip operation smooth and successful. Coach drivers have another paper task of maintaining trip records, and may collect fees for on-road traveling costs like parking fees, physical tolls booth fees, and ZTL city entrance fees at check points like in Italian cities, or at Salzburg city bus parking zone in Austria.
Bus drivers will need to master and demonstrate the following skills:
Professional client service capacity
Full awareness of public-safety and public-security regulations
Posses updated First-aid course successful completion
Must be methodical and able to pay attention to details at all times
Demonstrate great patience and the capacity to stay composed under pressure from tense situations, and maintain the essential calm aptitude in receiving blame or disapproval, while operating under pressure with calm
Competent in using navigation systems, and electronic equipment like GPS
Full understanding of transport procedures, costs and penalties
The capability to operate efficiently with customers on the bus, members of the public on the streets, road authorities, mechanics, and colleagues
The capability to activate, drive, operate, and control mechanical and electrical equipment
Coach drivers need to have completed a high school diploma. Training for coach drivers is usually an eight weeks course, which costs are usually covered by the employer through a registered professional coach training school.
Bus operators must demonstrate clear driving records from any issues. Every driver must hold a commercial coach driving license recognized by all state and federal certifications for coach driving within Germany and EU approvals. Bus Drivers are required to complete an official coach operating school course with especially experiencing traffic conditions like driving on free-ways and city inner streets with speed limits, zig-zag driving, backing up & parking techniques, and traffic jams avoidance. Position demands Consideration Coach Drivers are advised to consider expecting, being ready and primed to operate and maneuver coaches in traffic jams in inner city roads, and on long sections of the high-way. The position demands high physical endurance, as work-shift exhaustion is the foremost welfare issue among all current bus drivers, which need to keep vigilant and alert of their physical and attention limits constantly. Coach Captains drive in many different weather conditions, and need to adapt quickly during tours. Drivers must be ready to deal with disobedient or drunk travelers. Operators must be prepared to deal with customer complaints, as this is a very common occurrence for any minor or important issues. Bus drivers must consult and consider with their families about the positon work times, as some tours take drivers away from their home and family for 10-12 hours per day, or for 6-12 days depending if one or more countries are visited. Bus drivers must demonstrate capability to control and maneuver 15 meters length, 4 meters high, and 2 meters wide coaches accurately. Bus Drivers should be able physically to handle luggage weighing up to 30Kg.
Inspect bus cleanliness, tires, and check gas, oil, and water before departing bus depot.
Arriving ahead of starting time to allow a period for group boarding.
Welcoming and greeting travelers on board the coach, and checking documents.
Load luggage brought in by commuters in the coach’s bags’ compartment.
Making brief health, safety & security presentation to demonstrate emergency steps and exit options for any situation during trip.
Regulate climate control to comfort level, lighting, and fresh ventilating systems for keeping the air fresh and minimizing any virus concentration during those special times.
Driving bus to transport travelers over indicated routes in Hamburg, Germany, or European countries according to the agreed tour itinerary.
Observing and adhering to all local traffic regulations at every city and country in Europe.
After rest breaks, or planned visits, driver makes sure the group members are all back on board and everybody is accounted for.
Documenting and reporting any traffic delays or road accidents that may hinder the tour operation very quickly to find urgent solutions.
For multi-country trips, must keep travelers informed with latest travel info and dealing with border control at border check points.
Record any cash receipts or any toll fees paid by driver or tour leader depending on agreements.
At the end of every service day, must clean and keep the coach clean, disinfected, and ready for next day service.
Must be ready to make simple/quick technical repairs on spot, and sometimes need to jack up the bus and change a tire.
When the tour is a school pupil’s trip, must be ready to assist the tour leading teachers with any extra help they may need as experience proved these trips are very demanding of extra patience and attention to details.
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