Becoming a Bus Driver in NSW
Driving a bus is a demanding job. It requires expertise in operating a large vehicle as well as acceptance of the responsibility for passengers’ lives. It’s no wonder then, that in order to become a bus driver in New South Wales, you have to prove your competency.
To become a bus driver in NSW, you have to apply for a bus driver authority from Roads & Maritime Services.
We will guide you through each step of this process to help you hit the road sooner.
What is a Bus?
When you hear the word “bus”, your imagination is likely to draw a picture of a big vehicle with lots of passengers in it.
What differentiates a bus from other vehicles? According to the Passenger Transport Act 2014 No 46, a bus is a motor vehicle that seats more than 12 adults.
This means that to drive a vehicle that can contain 13 or more adults, you have to be authorised under the Passenger Transport Act 1990 or 2014.
Bus Driver Requirements
To apply for a bus driver authority in NSW, you must:
- be at least 20 years old
- have held an unrestricted driver licence for at least 12 months in the last two years (issued in any Australian state)
- hold an appropriate heavy vehicle licence:
- Small Rigid (SR) license class for small buses that can contain 13 and more adults including the driver and a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of up to 8 tonnes
- Medium Rigid (MR) license class for medium buses with a GVM of more than 8 tonnes and two axles
- Heavy Rigid (HR) license class for big buses with a GVM of more than 8 tonnes and three or more axles, including bendy buses.
In addition, you need to successfully complete bus driver authority training. This is a one-day course that takes around 4 hours and will cost you $385.
And of course, you have to be medically fit to drive a public passenger vehicle.
Bus Driver Responsibilities
The full list of a bus driver’s responsibilities is regulated by Passenger Transport Regulation 2007.
Here, we discuss the most important responsibilities to know to make sure you don’t get caught out once you’ve become a proud member of the bus drivers’ society.
As a bus driver, you must not:
- smoke in the bus at any time
- eat or drink while on the bus during service or if you are available for hire
- drive while doors are open
- misinform someone that you are under the bus driver authority.
As a bus driver, you must:
- keep your vehicle clean and tidy
- be clean and tidy and wear appropriate clothes with closed-toe shoes during your service
- behave with civility towards passengers, other drivers and authority officers
- allow service animals onboard, including service animals in training
- deliver all lost property to its owner or to a police station.
Mobile Phone Usage
Inappropriate use of your mobile phone could lead to having your bus driver authority suspended.
There are some scenarios in which a driver is permitted to use his phone while a vehicle is moving or stationary, according to the regulations.
A bus driver is allowed to use their phone if it is:
- securely fixed and mounted; or
- possible to operate the phone hands-free.
Otherwise, texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading notifications and emailing will be treated as unacceptable usage.
Dangers of Using a Mobile Phone While Driving
It is crucial for a bus driver to understand how dangerous it could be to use a mobile phone while driving.
Using a mobile phone while driving can slow your reaction time and result in an inability to maintain a constant speed, keep a safe distance or stay in the same lane. Being distracted will also lead to reduced awareness of road warnings and hazards.
Applying for a Bus Driver Authority
You will need the following list of documents to apply for a bus driver authority in NSW:
- A completed Application for an Authority to Drive a Bus form.
- Proof of identity. (Expired licences and Photo Cards can be submitted as long as they aren’t more than 2 years old or recorded as lost, stolen or destroyed.)
- A National Police Certificate, not more than 3 months old at the time of applying.
- A completed Medical Assessment for Public Passenger Vehicle Drivers form, completed within 6 months of the application
- A certified copy of your NSW driver licence
- Two clear, colour photos (65mm x 65mm) of your face and neck on a pale background. Photos must be recent and you can’t wear a hat or sunglasses.
- A certificate confirming that you have successfully completed the bus driver authority training.
An application fee is also required to apply for the bus driver authority. Fees are listed on the application form.