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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52b8l3plMBE.
Quick Facts: Passenger Vehicle Drivers
2019 Median Pay $33,300 per year
$16.01 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education See How to Become One
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training See How to Become One
Number of Jobs, 2019 1,076,700
Job Outlook, 2019-29 11% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 115,300

What Passenger Vehicle Drivers Do

Passenger vehicle drivers operate buses, taxis, and other modes of transportation to take people from place to place.

Work Environment

Most passenger vehicle drivers work full time, but part-time work is common. Drivers’ schedules may vary, and some work weekends, evenings, or early mornings. School bus drivers work only when schools are in session.

How to Become a Passenger Vehicle Driver

Bus drivers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent; other types of passenger vehicle drivers typically have no formal educational requirements. Most passenger vehicle drivers get brief on-the-job training. Additionally, all drivers need a regular driver’s license. Some may need a special license, depending on the type of vehicle they drive.

Pay

The median annual wage for bus drivers, transit and intercity was $43,030 in May 2019.

The median annual wage for passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity was $31,340 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of passenger vehicle drivers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for passenger vehicle drivers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of passenger vehicle drivers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about passenger vehicle drivers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Passenger Vehicle Drivers Do About this section

Bus drivers
Intercity bus drivers transport passengers between cities or towns.

Passenger vehicle drivers transport people, sometimes across state and national borders. Some drive regular routes, while others’ destinations vary daily. They operate a range of vehicles, from small cars with limited seating to 60-foot articulated buses (with two connected sections) that can carry more than 100 passengers.

Duties

Passenger vehicle drivers typically do the following:

  • Pick up and drop off passengers at designated locations
  • Follow a planned route or drive to a requested destination
  • Help passengers, including those with disabilities, get into and out of the vehicle
  • Obey traffic laws and state and federal transit regulations
  • Follow procedures to ensure passenger safety
  • Keep passengers informed of possible delays
  • Maintain vehicle by checking tires, lights, and oil
  • Keep the vehicle clean and presentable
  • Help passengers load and unload belongings

Passenger vehicle drivers must stay alert to ensure their passengers' safety, especially in heavy traffic or bad weather.

The following are examples of types of passenger vehicle drivers:

School bus drivers transport students to and from school and other activities, such as field trips and sporting events, when the academic term is in session. School bus drivers also maintain order on the school bus and report disciplinary problems to the school district or parents.

Shuttle drivers and chauffeurs take passengers on planned trips. Shuttle drivers often drive large vans between airports or train stations and hotels or other destinations. Chauffeurs drive limousines, vans, or private cars and are hired to transport clients either for single trips or on a regular basis. Some chauffeurs do the duties of executive assistants, acting as driver, secretary, and itinerary planner.

Taxi and ride-hailing drivers pick up and drop off passengers, for a fare, on an unplanned basis. Both are summoned, taxi drivers—also called cabdrivers or cabbies—via a central dispatcher or at a designated pickup location and ride-hailing drivers through a smartphone app. Taxi drivers use a meter to calculate the fare; ride-hailing drivers are paid by a credit card that is linked to the app that passengers use.

Transit and intercity bus drivers usually follow a daily schedule to transport people on regular routes. They ensure that passengers pay the required fare, either by managing the fare box or collecting tickets, and answer questions about schedules and routes. Drivers of local transit buses travel city or suburban streets and may stop frequently. Drivers of intercity buses travel between cities or towns, sometimes crossing state lines. Motor coachdrivers transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours and sometimes act as tour guides.

Work Environment About this section

bus drivers image
Some school bus drivers make multiple trips if schools in the district open at different times.

Bus drivers, transit and intercity held about 223,400 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of bus drivers, transit and intercity were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals 38%
Urban transit systems 15
Charter bus industry 9
Interurban and rural bus transportation 5

Passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity held about 853,300 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity were as follows:

Elementary and secondary schools; local 23%
School and employee bus transportation 17
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 8
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 7

Driving through heavy traffic or bad weather and dealing with unruly passengers can be stressful. Some passenger vehicle drivers may have to pick up heavy luggage and packages, so they must take care to prevent strain or injury.

Some taxi drivers own the cab they drive; others lease it from a dispatch company. Regardless of whether they own or lease their vehicle, taxi drivers may contract with a dispatch company to use its passenger-referral service or facilities for a fee. Ride-hailing drivers typically operate their own vehicles. Taxi drivers and ride-hailing drivers usually pay expenses, such as fuel and maintenance, on their vehicle.

Injuries and Illnesses

Transit and intercity bus drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Other passenger vehicle drivers also sometimes get injured on the job. Most injuries result from traffic accidents.

Work Schedules

Most passenger vehicle drivers work full time, but part-time work is common. Drivers’ schedules may vary, and some work weekends, evenings, or early mornings.

School bus drivers work only when school is in session, so their work hours are often limited. Some make multiple runs if schools in their district open and close at different times or if students need transportation to other activities.

Chauffeurs' work hours are based on client needs. Some chauffeurs must be ready to drive their clients at a moment’s notice, so they remain on call throughout the day.

Taxi drivers’ and ride-hailing drivers’ work schedules are often flexible. They can take breaks for a meal or rest whenever they do not have a passenger.

Intercity bus drivers may work all hours of the day, including weekends and holidays. Some spend nights away from home because of long-distance routes. Others make a round trip and go home at the end of each shift.

Bus drivers who cross state lines must follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) hours-of-service regulations. Bus drivers are allowed 10 hours of driving time and 15 hours of total on-duty time before they must rest for 8 consecutive hours. Weekly maximum restrictions also apply but may vary by employer schedule.

How to Become a Passenger Vehicle Driver About this section

Bus drivers
All types of bus drivers have to obtain a CDL.

Occupational entry requirements vary for different types of passenger vehicle drivers. In addition to education, training, and licensing requirements, some drivers must meet additional standards.

Drivers usually need to have a clean driving record and may be required to pass a background check; they also might need to meet physical, hearing, and vision requirements.

Education

Bus drivers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Other types of passenger vehicle drivers typically do not need any formal education; however, many of these drivers have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Bus drivers typically get 1 to 3 months of on-the-job training, but those who already have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) may have a shorter training period. For part of the training, drivers may practice various maneuvers with a bus on a driving course. They then begin to drive in light traffic and eventually make practice runs on the type of route that they expect to drive. New drivers make regularly scheduled trips with passengers while accompanied by an experienced driver who gives tips, answers questions, and evaluates the new driver's performance.

Most taxi and limousine companies provide new drivers with a short period of on-the-job training. This training usually takes from 1 day to 2 weeks, depending on the company and the location. Some cities require the training, which typically covers local traffic laws, driver safety, and street layout. Taxi drivers also get training in operating the taximeter and communications equipment.

Ride-hailing drivers receive little to no training beyond how to work the electronic hailing app so they can pick up customers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All bus drivers must have a CDL. Some new bus drivers can earn their CDL during on-the-job training. Qualifications vary by state but generally include passing both knowledge and driving tests. States have the right not to issue a license to someone who has had a CDL suspended in another state.

Drivers can get endorsements for a CDL that reflect their ability to drive a special type of vehicle. All bus drivers must have a passenger (P) endorsement, and school bus drivers must also have a school bus (S) endorsement. Getting the P and S endorsements requires additional knowledge, which is assessed through passing a driving test administered by a certified examiner.

Many states require all bus drivers to be at least 18 years old and those who drive across state lines to be at least 21 years old. Most bus drivers must undergo a background check before they are hired.

Federal regulations require interstate bus drivers to pass a physical exam every 2 years and to submit to random drug or alcohol testing. Most states impose similar regulations. Bus drivers may have their CDL suspended if they are convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle or of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Actions such as excessive speeding or reckless driving also may result in a suspension.

Other types of passenger vehicle drivers must have a regular automobile driver’s license. States and local municipalities set additional requirements; many require taxi drivers and chauffeurs to get a taxi or limousine license. This normally requires passing a background check, testing free of drugs, and passing a written exam about regulations and local geography.

Regulations for ride-hailing drivers vary by state and city. Check with your local area for more information.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires limousine drivers who transport 16 or more passengers to hold a CDL with a passenger (P) endorsement.

Advancement

Some taxi drivers start their own cab service by purchasing a taxi rather than leasing one through a dispatch company. Chauffeurs may advance with increased responsibilities or experiences, such as driving high-profile clients or different types of cars.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. Drivers regularly interact with passengers and must be courteous and helpful.

Dependability. Customers rely on passenger vehicle drivers to pick them up on time and safely transport them to their destination.

Hand-eye coordination. Drivers must watch their surroundings and avoid obstacles and other hazards while operating a vehicle. Federal regulations require bus drivers to have normal use of their arms and legs.

Hearing ability. Passenger vehicle drivers need good hearing. Federal regulations require bus drivers to have the ability to hear a forced whisper in one ear at 5 feet, with or without the use of a hearing aid.

Patience. Drivers must remain calm and composed when driving through heavy traffic and congestion or when dealing with rude passengers.

Physical health. Some medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, may interfere with the safe operation of passenger vehicles.

Visual ability. Passenger vehicle drivers must be able to pass vision tests. Federal regulations require bus drivers to have at least 20/40 vision with a 70-degree field of vision in each eye and the ability to distinguish colors on a traffic light.

Pay About this section

Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Median annual wages, May 2019

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

$43,030

Total, all occupations

$39,810

Motor vehicle operators

$38,550

Passenger vehicle drivers

$33,300

Passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity

$31,340

 

The median annual wage for bus drivers, transit and intercity was $43,030 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,710, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,810.

The median annual wage for passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity was $31,340 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49,500.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for bus drivers, transit and intercity in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Local government, excluding education and hospitals $53,370
Interurban and rural bus transportation 39,900
Urban transit systems 39,860
Charter bus industry 33,340

In May 2019, the median annual wages for passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

School and employee bus transportation $36,530
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 34,520
Elementary and secondary schools; local 32,420
Other transit and ground passenger transportation 29,340

Most passenger vehicle drivers work full time, but part-time work is common. Drivers’ schedules may vary, and some work weekends, evenings, or early mornings.

School bus drivers work only when school is in session, so their work hours are often limited. Some make multiple runs if schools in their district open and close at different times or if students need transportation to other activities.

Chauffeurs' work hours are based on client needs. Some chauffeurs must be ready to drive their clients at a moment’s notice, so they remain on call throughout the day.

Taxi drivers’ and ride-hailing drivers’ work schedules are often flexible. They can take breaks for a meal or rest whenever they do not have a passenger.

Intercity bus drivers may work all hours of the day, including weekends and holidays. Some spend nights away from home because of long-distance routes. Others make a round trip and go home at the end of each shift.

Some passenger vehicle drivers receive tips. Those who provide good customer service are more likely to receive good tips than those whose customer-service skills are poor.

Job Outlook About this section

Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity

11%

Passenger vehicle drivers

11%

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

9%

Motor vehicle operators

5%

Total, all occupations

4%

 

Overall employment of passenger vehicle drivers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Employment of passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Taxi, limousine, and ride-hailing services are concentrated primarily in large metropolitan areas, where people are more likely to use this form of transportation. However, most job growth in this occupation is projected to be from the increasing demand for ride-hailing services, the providers of which are typically independent contractors. Demand is expected to increase due to the conveniences that ride-hailing services offer, such as being able to track the location of the requested driver and to pay for services using a smartphone app. In contrast, demand for taxi and limousine services is projected to decline as consumers opt to use ride-hailing services instead.

Additionally, as more school districts outsource their transportation needs, employment growth for school bus drivers will likely be in companies that districts contract with to provide school bus services.

Demand for special-needs transportation will continue to rise because of an increase in older age groups, which typically are more likely to require these services than are younger groups.

Employment of bus drivers, transit and intercity is projected to grow 9 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. New Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems are expected to open throughout the country, which should create additional employment opportunities. Intercity bus travel that picks up passengers from curbside locations in urban downtowns should continue to grow. This form of travel is expected to remain popular due to the inexpensive fares and passenger amenities, such as Wi-Fi.

Job Prospects

About 132,900 openings for passenger vehicle drivers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment projections data for passenger vehicle drivers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Passenger vehicle drivers

53-3050 1,076,700 1,192,000 11 115,300 Get data

Bus drivers, transit and intercity

53-3052 223,400 244,200 9 20,800 Get data

Passenger vehicle drivers, except bus drivers, transit and intercity

53-3058 853,300 947,800 11 94,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of passenger vehicle drivers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2019 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area.

High school diploma or equivalent $32,020
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another.

Postsecondary nondegree award $45,260
Train engineers and operators

Railroad Workers

Workers in railroad occupations ensure that passenger and freight trains safely run on time. They may drive trains, coordinate the activities of the trains, or operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

High school diploma or equivalent $65,020
Water transportation occupations

Water Transportation Workers

Water transportation workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water.

See How to Become One $57,330

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about school bus drivers, visit

National School Transportation Association

National Association of State Directors of Pupil Transportation Services

For more information about transit bus drivers, visit

American Public Transportation Association

For more information about motor coach drivers, visit

United Motorcoach Association

For more information about taxi drivers and chauffeurs, visit

Taxicab, Limousine, and Paratransit Association

For more information about limousine drivers, visit

National Limousine Association

For more information about ride-hailing drivers, visit

The Ride Share Guy

For more information about commercial licensing, visit

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

O*NET

Bus Drivers, School or Special Client

Bus Drivers, Transit and Intercity

Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Passenger Vehicle Drivers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/passenger-vehicle-drivers.htm (visited October 18, 2020).

Last Modified Date: Monday, September 21, 2020

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2019 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2019, the median annual wage for all workers was $39,810.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2019

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2019, which is the base year of the 2019-29 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2019-29

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029. The average growth rate for all occupations is 4 percent.

Employment Change, 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

2019 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2019, the median annual wage for all workers was $39,810.