Driving a tour bus isn’t a job that you can do tomorrow without any experience. This job requires getting additional licenses and going through a training process that includes classroom learning, closed course driving and on-the-job training. Learning how to be a tour bus driver may take up to 2 months but should prepare would-be drivers for the road.
To get a job as a tour bus driver, you need a driver’s license with a clean record. In addition, many states ban anyone with a felony conviction for a driving-related offense from getting a commercial driver's license (CDL), which precludes employment as a tour bus driver. Many companies also require drivers to have a high school diploma.
The CDL requires additional testing over and above that of the typical driver’s license. In addition, most tour bus drivers will need a CDL with a P, or passenger, designation. To earn this designation, drivers must undergo additional reading and testing to help them learn how to drive well with passengers aboard.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most companies hiring tour bus drivers will put those drivers through their own training courses. These courses typically last from 2 to 8 weeks and cover driving rules and regulations as well as company policies and any special instructions for driving tour buses. Tour bus training will cover all of the topics needed to drive the bus safely.
Closed Course Training
The next step in tour bus training is driving on a closed course. With these courses, potential tour bus drivers will get a feel for the buses and how to handle them. The closed course training will help instructors with one-on-one training without putting anyone in danger.
Once a tour bus driver is finished with the classroom and closed-course training, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the next step typically is to allow new drivers to complete the easier routes with the supervision of a veteran driver. New drivers will be able to learn how to handle the vehicle, traffic and passengers on less-populated routes until he becomes proficient.