What Passenger Vehicle Drivers Do
Passenger vehicle drivers operate buses, taxis, and other modes of transportation to take people from place to place.
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.
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.
Overall employment of passenger vehicle drivers is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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||Median Annual Pay, May 2019|
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 transport goods from one location to another.
|Postsecondary nondegree award||$45,260|
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 workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water.
|See How to Become One||$57,330|
For more information about school bus drivers, visit
For more information about transit bus drivers, visit
For more information about motor coach drivers, visit
For more information about taxi drivers and chauffeurs, visit
For more information about limousine drivers, visit
National Limousine Association
For more information about ride-hailing drivers, visit
For more information about commercial licensing, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Passenger Vehicle Drivers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/passenger-vehicle-drivers.htm (visited ).