Transport Driver Job Description
Transport drivers operate vehicles carrying people or goods, usually following a set route and schedule. This role can include many different types of drivers, from short-haul truck drivers to bus and medical transport drivers. In some cases, transport drivers need a commercial driver’s license (CDL), while others just need a clean driving record and a valid driver’s license.
Transport drivers maintain safe and secure vehicles whether they’re driving passengers or cargo. A transport driver who operates a bus may be responsible for maintaining order and ensuring that passengers remain seated during a trip, while transport drivers carrying cargo need to ensure the safety of the crates and packages they’re transporting.
Transport Driver Duties and Responsibilities
A transport driver’s specific duties can vary based on their industry – the day-to-day duties of a tractor trailer driver are much different than those of a bus driver. However, many of these responsibilities exist in some capacity in every industry:
Transport Passengers or Goods
The foremost duty of a transport driver is moving goods or passengers along their assigned route or within a certain territory. This aspect of the job requires excellent driving skills, the ability to safely operate and maneuver a large vehicle, and compliance with rules and regulations for passenger and freight transport. For bus drivers, this can also involve maintaining passenger safety and removing unruly passengers.
Follow Routes and Schedules
Transport drivers tend to follow specific routes or schedules and may use GPS technology to outline routes and monitor whether they are on schedule. Transport drivers also need to consider factors such as traffic and weather conditions that may affect their route, and transport drivers moving goods should be aware of weight limits and hazardous materials regulations en route. Although most transport drivers follow established routes, they should also be able to quickly adjust for unexpected road closures or hazards.
Perform Vehicle Inspections and Maintenance
While on the road, transport drivers may need to inspect and maintain their vehicles to ensure safe operation. In some cases, transport drivers may conduct regular maintenance, inspections, and emergency repairs, although this is not the case for transport drivers who operate vehicles like city buses. Transport drivers should be familiar with protocols and practices for removing their vehicles from the road due to mechanical failure.
Coordinate Activities with Dispatchers
Transport drivers usually coordinate with dispatchers and other logistics team members while driving their routes, providing updates on schedules, route and road conditions, and passenger issues that arise during transport. In some cases, transport drivers may need to log information related to deliveries or pickups and provide reports to dispatchers to ensure adherence to schedules and timelines. Dispatchers may also instruct transport drivers to deviate from their normal routes due to road or weather conditions or other drivers requiring assistance.
Finally, many transport drivers maintain detailed records related to their activities on the road. For long-haul transport drivers, this may include information about stops and miles driven, while a transport driver who works locally may keep daily logs of their stops, deliveries, or passenger volume, depending on the industry they work in.
Transport Driver Skills and Qualifications
Transport drivers need to safely operate their vehicles to transport items and passengers. Companies tend to hire candidates who have clean driving records, valid licenses, and the following skills:
- Driving and vehicle operation – transport drivers need to safely maneuver large vehicles such as tractor trailers and buses. The ability to operate a vehicle for several hours a day is also essential
- Route logistics – most transport drivers follow set routes but frequently need to plan and alter routes to drop off and pick up items and passengers efficiently and according to schedule
- Vehicle maintenance – basic familiarity with vehicle inspection and maintenance is also helpful in this role, since transport drivers may need to inspect their vehicles while on the road to ensure safety
- Time management – for bus, delivery, and truck drivers, keeping track of time is essential for staying on schedule and adhering to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines
- Communication skills – transport drivers may need to report route conditions, passenger issues, or vehicle malfunctions to dispatchers and other drivers, so effective verbal communication is another important skill
- Documentation – many transport drivers need to keep accurate records of hours worked, miles driven, passenger incidents, and deliveries and pickups completed
Transport Driver Education and Training
Typically, transport drivers across industries have at least a high school diploma or GED. Depending on the specific role of the transport driver, many attend truck or bus driving schools to gain experience safely operating oversized vehicles. In many cases, transport drivers also need to pass a written examination and road test to obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL), although some transport drivers only need a valid noncommercial driver’s license.
Transport Driver Salary and Outlook
A transport driver’s salary can depend largely on what type of transport activities they are engaged in. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that bus drivers earn a median annual salary of $33,010, while heavy truck drivers earn a median yearly wage of $42,480. Delivery drivers earn a median annual salary of $29,250. Wages for transport drivers can also vary based on routes driven and whether their employers classify them as employees or independent contractors.
The BLS expects employment for transport drivers to grow through 2026, with both tractor trailer and bus driver employment growing 6 percent and delivery driver employment increasing 4 percent.
If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a transport driver, we found many resources on the web with helpful information:
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – the FMCSA sets laws and guidelines for commercial vehicle operators, including hour limits and guidelines for breaks and daily mileage to ensure safe roads
CDL – Commercial Driver’s License Exam – prepare for the CDL exam with practice questions, diagrams and definitions, and tips for success
“Best Practices in Driver Hiring” – find out what companies look for in transport drivers and learn how to stand out from other applicants for this role
CDL Study Guide Book: Test Preparation & Training Manual for the Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Exam – this study guide provides information on transporting items and passengers safely, along with effective test-taking strategies
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