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Bus Drivers Job Outlook

Employment of bus drivers is projected to grow 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Employment of transit and intercity drivers (including motor coach) is expected to grow 15 percent. Demand for buses is expected to remain relatively flat over the next decade. An increase in gas prices could lead more people to choose the bus; however, trains are often preferred when available. Employment in the charter bus industry is expected to continue to decline, limiting opportunities for motor coach drivers.

Recently, intercity bus travel has grown rapidly. Although it is expected to continue to grow, intercity bus service is still a relatively small part of bus travel and is unlikely to create many new jobs.

For local transit, a new type of bus service has gotten a lot of attention lately: bus rapid transit (BRT). BRT creates routes in cities where buses can travel quickly with only a few stops. Because it is less expensive than light rail, some cities are considering BRT lines instead of rail lines, which would create more jobs for bus drivers.

Employment of school or special client bus drivers is expected to grow 12 percent, largely due to an increase in the number of school age children. However, growth will be tempered as budget limitations lead school districts to focus on increasing efficiency. They do this by using computer programs to determine more efficient bus routes, allowing some routes (and drivers) to be cut.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for bus drivers should be favorable, especially for school bus drivers, as many drivers leave the occupation. Those willing to work part time or irregular shifts should have the best prospects. Prospects for motor coach drivers will depend on tourism, which fluctuates with the economy.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition