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Bus Drivers, Transit & Subway Operators (NOC 7512) may also be called:

  • school bus driver
  • sightseeing tour driver
  • tour bus driver
  • motor coach driver
  • streetcar operator
  • conductor, bus / streetcar
  • operator, light rail / subway / trolley
  • shuttle driver – auto dealership
  • shuttle driver – car rental company

What Would I Do?

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

Bus drivers and streetcar operators’ duties can include:

  • drive buses or streetcars to transport passengers along established routes to local destinations, or 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
  • conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of vehicle
  • may provide information on points of interest during sightseeing tours
  • may load and unload passengers’ luggage and express freight

School bus drivers’ duties can include:

  • 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’ duties can include:

  • 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

More information:

  • Career Cruising (profiles for ‘Bus Driver’ and ‘Transit Operator’)
    Available from the VPL Digital Library

Am I Suited For This Job?

Bus Drivers, Transit & Subway Operators should have:

  • excellent driving skills
  • good communication skills and interpersonal skills to interact with passengers
  • organization and time-management skills for co-ordinating passenger pick-ups
  • a thorough knowledge of the areas they drive in

They should be:

  • able to concentrate despite distractions
  • able to follow instructions carefully
  • able to think and act quickly in various situations
  • patient

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. School bus drivers usually only work part time.

These workers may also have to handle difficult passengers from time to time.

More information:

  • Career Cruising (profiles for ‘Bus Driver’ and ‘Transit Operator’)
    Available from the VPL Digital Library

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

In British Columbia, the annual median salary for Bus drivers, transit & subway operators is $51,097. According to WorkBC, hourly wages can range from $17 – $30.  JobBank Canada lists hourly wages for BC’s regions where drivers/operators can expect to make:

Bus drivers, transit & subway operators hourly wages

Table from Job Bank Canada Wage Report

Full-time transit operators usually get benefits as well. This can include health coverage, pension plans, and paid vacation time. They may also get free rides on their transit system.

These workers are usually part of a union. Their wages and benefits are negotiated by union representatives

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for Bus Drivers, Transit & Subway Operators, Career Cruising, Job Bank Canada Wage Report

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

Jobbank Canada reports that the employment outlook will be good for bus drivers, subway operators and other transit operators (NOC 7512) in British Columbia for the 2017-2019 period.  The following factors contributed to this outlook:

  • employment growth will lead to several new positions.
  • several positions will become available due to retirements.
  • there are a moderate number of unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation.

BC Labour market outlook 2015-2025

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile, Job Bank Canada Wage Report

How Do I Become a Bus driver, transit or subway operator?

Certification is not required to be a Bus driver or transit operator in BC. Employers do require some secondary school education, and a high school diploma is generally preferred.

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. Other requirements may include:

  • a Class 2 driver’s license with airbrake endorsement and at least one to five years of safe driving experience
  • on-the-job training that may take up to three months to complete
  • basic first aid, which may be included in on-the-job training
  • medical examination
  • criminal record check

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile, JobBank Canada Education & Job Requirements, Career Cruising (profiles for ‘Bus Driver’ and ‘Transit Operator’)


Voluntary certification as a Certified Professional Bus Operator CPBO is available through the Motor Carrier Passenger Council of Canada MCPCC. Requirements include:

  • training received through an Accredited Training Program, OR evidence of completed training, which meets the National Occupational Standards
  • three years bus operator experience

Source: Motor Carrier Passenger Council of Canada MCPCC

How Do I Find A Job?

Where would I work?

  • Work for bus companies, local governments, and school boards

Bus drivers:

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

Subway, light rail transit & streetcar operators:

  • work for urban transit systems

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

Available online or in print at the Central Library
Available from the VPL Digital Library
Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

  • Handy Dart
    Handy Dart is a shared ride service for passengers with physical or cognitive disabilities who are unable to use conventional public transit without assistance
    Operator: MVT Canadian Bus
  • BC JobConnect
    **must have permanent resident number**
    newcomers can post their skills, education and work experience to BC employers looking for workers

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of taxi / limousine companies. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “bus” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings (you can also try ‘tour bus’ or ‘school bus’).
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).
    Available from the VPL Digital Library

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

  • Seniors Transportation Access & Resources
    (lists communities throughout BC that offer free or low cost seniors transportation – click on your community and contact the organization to see if they need volunteer drivers)

For additional tips see:

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.  Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

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.

Where Can I Find More Information?