Bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators (NOC 7512)

About this job

This group includes workers who drive buses and operate streetcars, subway trains and light rail transit vehicles to transport passengers on established routes.

See what a day in the life of this job is like—watch WorkBC’s Career Trek video about this occupation.

Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

Bus drivers:

  • work for urban transit systems, school boards or transportation authorities and private transportation companies

Streetcar, subway and light rail transit operators:

  • work for urban transit systems

People in this occupation:

  • must have excellent driving skills
  • should be able to follow instructions carefully, as well as think and act quickly in various situations
  • need good communication skills and interpersonal skills to interact with passengers   
Common job titles
  • conductor, bus / streetcar
  • operator, light rail / subway / trolley
  • shuttle driver - auto dealership
  • shuttle driver - car rental company
  • conductor, bus / streetcar
  • operator, light rail / subway / trolley
  • shuttle driver - auto dealership
  • shuttle driver - car rental company

Duties

Bus drivers and streetcar operators:

  • Drive buses or streetcars to transport passengers along established routes to local destinations
  • Drive buses to transport passengers and goods to intercity or long distance destinations
  • Drive sightseeing tour buses to transport passengers locally or over long distances
  • Drive buses equipped for wheelchair accessibility, and aid passengers in boarding
  • Provide passengers with information on fares, schedules and stops
  • Collect fares, issue and validate transfers, check bus passes and record transactions
  • Conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of vehicle
  • Communicate with passengers, dispatchers or other drivers using two-way radio systems
  • Report delays, mechanical problems and accidents
  • May provide information on points of interest during sightseeing tours
  • May load and unload passengers' luggage and express freight.

School bus drivers:

  • Drive school buses to transport children between school and home or on excursions
  • Ensure children's safety when boarding and leaving buses and crossing street while bus is stopped
  • Maintain control of student activities during travel to prevent distractions or behaviours that could compromise safety
  • May transport adults outside of school hours on chartered trips.

Subway train and light rail transit operators:

  • Operate subway or rail transit vehicles as part of two-person crew
  • Observe signals at crossings and arrival and departure points
  • Operate controls to open and close transit vehicle doors
  • Report delays, malfunctions and accidents to control unit
  • Ensure passenger safety and welfare in emergencies, and direct passengers during evacuation procedures.

Work environment

Bus drivers and transit operators spend most of their working day driving vehicles, which are usually equipped with comfortable driver seats. Most people entering these occupations can expect to work part time through evenings, weekends and sometimes holidays before working full time.

Split shifts are also common. Those who have been in the industry longer can expect more regular shifts and full-time hours (40 hours per week).

Public transit operators are more likely to be part of a union and work full time.

As bus drivers and transit operators must sit for long periods, they are susceptible to back and neck injuries. These workers may also have to handle difficult passengers from time to time.

Insights from industry

As competition for transit driver openings is often very strong, some post-secondary education and excellent communications and interpersonal skills give applicants a definite advantage.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Bus drivers often have previous experience as truck drivers. These workers most often progress through part-time and split-shift assignments before getting a regular full-time assignment.

Advancement into supervisory or management positions, or into non-driving occupations such as dispatcher, safety officer or driving trainer, is possible with additional training or experience.

Additional resources