Bus industry jobs and career options

The bus industry provides scheduled transport services in cities, towns and villages across the UK. According to the Department of Transport over 4.6 billion journeys were made by bus in 2008/09 (with the majority of these being bus journeys) and figures have been increasing steadily every year since 2000. It is estimated that there are around 212,000 people working in the bus industry.  A large number of these people are employed as bus drivers.

Within the bus industry there are also job roles for customer service workers, engineering and maintenance staff and for those responsible for ensuring delivery of services, such as planners, staff supervisors and administrators.

Career opportunities and skills needed

Career opportunities

Careers in the bus industry fall into four main areas:

• Passenger services
• Driving
• Operations and service delivery
• Engineering

Passenger services staff are employed to provide information to passengers at depots and bus stations. Usual entry positions include customer services agent or passenger support assistant. Progression from these roles can be into supervisor positions, and further to operational support, such as planning, performance management or marketing and sales.  Drivers can be taken on as trainees, where they are given the required training to obtain their passenger carrying vehicle licence and their certificate of professional competence, both of which are required to drive a bus commercially.  Operations and service delivery staff ensure the smooth running of bus services, making sure that they are providing enough services and at suitable times. They also have to make sure that enough staff are available and that buses are maintained to provide safe and efficient journeys.  Engineering tends to sit as a more separate area of work in the bus industry, although there are opportunities for engineering staff to move quite easily into operations and service delivery roles.

Skills needed

Most employers will look for someone who works well with customers as many of the roles are front facing.  A good level of communication, numeracy and literacy are required with a foreign language becoming an increasingly helpful skill.  A flexible approach to working is desirable as there may be last minute changes or you may have to cover someone else’s shift. 

An awareness of health and safety is useful, however companies will train you in their own health and safety procedures.