When you travel by coach – whether for an overseas holiday, a trip in the UK or an event of some sort – the driver is at the heart of the operation. They do so much more than simply drive the coach: they are the ones responsible for greeting passengers, checking tickets, loading and unloading luggage, navigating legal aspects (such as border controls) and ensuring that all passengers are accounted for throughout the journey. On top of this, they keep the vehicle clean, conduct regular maintenance checks and are in charge of the complete safety of their passengers. Coach drivers are highly trained and you can rest assured that, when you step onto a coach, you are in the safest hands.
What training do coach drivers need?
Before a coach operator will consider taking on and training up a new driver, the candidate needs to be at least 18 years old (though some companies require their drivers to be 21 years old, and have at least two years’ driving experience), and hold a full EU driving licence. The first step of a driver’s training is to learn about ticketing systems, radio communications, routes, looking after passengers and ensuring high standards of health and safety.
The next step is for drivers to gain a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PVC) licence, also known as a Category D licence, which is the standard qualification required for driving coaches, buses and minibuses that can carry more than nine passengers. This training usually lasts between one and six weeks, during which time drivers are trained to operate the vehicles confidently and safely, and pass a theory, practical and medical test.
All coach drivers then need to take a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) in Passenger Carrying Vehicle Driving, which enables them to gain the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). The CPC was introduced as part of an EU Directive aimed at ensuring a high standard of driving across all coach operators, and improving road safety. Drivers need to pass all four parts of the course before they are awarded the CPC and, after they’ve received it, they must undergo 35 hours of repeat training every five years.
Safe, reliable and knowledgeable coach drivers
As a result of their training and experience, coach drivers have an expert understanding of the road networks, routes and traffic regulations in their areas of operation. Many coach operators will also ask their drivers to take a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (formerly known as the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check), to ensure that their passengers are as safe as possible at all times. They are fully trained in making your journey as smooth, comfortable and safe as possible, and getting you to your destination on time.
Here at Mayday Travel, our expert drivers are DBS checked, NVQ qualified in passenger transportation, and CPC certified. Contact us today to find out more.