The best licence you can obtain if you are looking to become a bus/coach driver is a Heavy Rigid (HR) Licence with a B Condition (can drive synchromesh and automatic gearboxes).
Although most local buses are MR (Medium Rigid) vehicles, employers usually prefer you to have an HR rather than a MR licence. The HR licence is not much more expensive to obtain and the test is identical. The only difference is that the vehicle has three axles instead of two.
The HR Licence gives you more options as a bus driver
Qualifying for your HR licence will cover you to drive any MR (Medium Rigid) or HR (Heavy Rigid) bus or coach. This type of heavy vehicle drivers licence also allows you to drive an articulated bus — otherwise known as a ‘bendy’ or ‘banana’ bus.
There are not many buses fitted with crash gearboxes as most buses use automatic gearboxes. The chances of you having to drive a bus or coach with a non-synchromesh (Road Ranger) gearbox are very unlikely.
Driving Council buses and other fare-paying passengers
Be aware that if you are driving a bus carrying fare-paying passengers, you will need to obtain a driver authorisation from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
A driver authorisation is a qualification you must have to operate a public passenger transport service. This process includes having a current medical examination by your local doctor.
The Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act 1994 requires all drivers of public passenger transport services in Queensland to hold driver authorisation.
To obtain driver authorisation, you’ll need to meet certain requirements specified in the Act.
The purpose of driver authorisation is to ensure the driver is a suitable person to operate the vehicle, with regard to:
- the safety of children and other vulnerable members of the community
- the personal safety of the public, passengers, and their property
- the act of driving and capability to safely operate the vehicle
- the reputation of public passenger transport
- conducting themselves responsibly with passengers and the public
- being aware of their customer service responsibilities
- being held accountable for complying with appropriate standards.
For more information, visit the Passenger transport driver authorisation page on the Department of Transport and Main Roads’ website.