Bus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit Operators

Occupation:Bus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit Operators
Category:Trades and Transportation

About the job

Nature of work:

This group includes workers who drive buses and operate streetcars, subway trains and light rail transit vehicles to transport passengers on established routes.

They provide passengers with information, collect fares, and ensure passengers' safety. Tour bus drivers take passengers on local sightseeing trips or longer tours and some also provide information on points of interest during the trip. Bus drivers are employed by urban transit systems, school boards or transportation authorities and private transportation companies. Streetcar, subway and light rail transit operators are employed by urban transit systems.

Job duties:
Bus drivers and streetcar operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Drive buses or streetcars to transport passengers along established routes to local destinations.
  • Drive buses to transport passengers and goods to intercity or long distance destinations.
  • Drive sightseeing tour buses to transport passengers locally or over long distances.
  • Drive buses equipped for wheelchair accessibility, and aid passengers in boarding.
  • Provide passengers with information on fares, schedules and stops.
  • Collect fares, issue and validate transfers, check bus passes and record transactions.
  • Conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of vehicle.
  • Communicate with passengers, dispatchers or other drivers using two-way radio systems.
  • Report delays, mechanical problems and accidents.
  • May provide information on points of interest during sightseeing tours.
  • May load and unload passengers' luggage and express freight.
School bus drivers perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Drive school buses to transport children between school and home or on excursions.
  • Ensure children's safety when boarding and leaving buses and crossing street while bus is stopped.
  • Maintain control of student activities during travel to prevent distractions or behaviours that could compromise safety.
  • May transport adults outside of school hours on chartered trips.
Subway train and light rail transit operators perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Operate subway or rail transit vehicles as part of two-person crew.
  • Observe signals at crossings and arrival and departure points.
  • Operate controls to open and close transit vehicle doors.
  • Report delays, malfunctions and accidents to control unit.
  • Ensure passenger safety and welfare in emergencies, and direct passengers during evacuation procedures.
Sample job titles:
  • bus driver
  • charter bus driver
  • public passenger transit driver
  • school bus driver
  • shuttle operator
  • sightseeing tour driver
  • tour bus operator
  • transit operator - transportation

To work in these jobs, you should enjoy driving and be able to function under minimal supervision. You must be alert, responsible, and self-motivated. An awareness of safety is important. You must also get along well with people, as drivers often deal directly with customers. For some jobs, you should be willing to drive long distances and for extended periods of time.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Up to three months of on-the-job training including classroom instruction, is usually provided for all jobs in this group.
  • A minimum of one year of safe driving experience is required.
  • Bus drivers require a Class 2 driver's licence in Nova Scotia.
  • An air brakes endorsement and first aid certificate may be required.
  • Experience as a public transit bus driver is usually required for subway and light rail transit operators.
  • A three-year program leading to the Certified Professional Bus Operator (CPBO) designation is available for bus drivers.
Other considerations:

Progression to transit supervisory positions, inspector or training instructor positions is possible with experience.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Fair

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “average”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is comparable to the average for all occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow slightly over the next few years, which should provide some additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Bus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit Operators may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. With employment conditions being seasonal in nature, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year are fairly common.

The median employment income for 36% of Bus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit Operators who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $53,282. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Bus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit Operators2,120Weak growth205Moderate
Minimum: $15.09
Median: $22.52
Maximum: $26.00
Minimum: $9,344
Median: $27,293
Maximum: $58,102
Occupations in Trades and Transportation57,925Decline slightly3,400High
Minimum: $13.00
Median: $20.35
Maximum: $34.00
Minimum: $7,580
Median: $37,269
Maximum: $79,787
Bus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
Percent employed full-time57%89%
Percent self-employed2%13%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentBus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit OperatorsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton12%$27,81713%$32,974
Annapolis Valley15%$14,50813%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeBus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit OperatorsCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
Median Age5747
GenderBus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit OperatorsCompared to: Occupations in Trades and Transportation
% Employed% Employed
EducationBus Drivers, Subway Operators, and Other Transit OperatorsCompared to: All Trades and Transportation
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high school16.6%$42,41518.2%$25,753
High school36.9%$42,06725.5%$28,089
Trades certificate19.6%$43,55929.4%$40,890
College certificate or diploma18.5%$41,10122.6%$39,023
University certificate or diploma2.6%$33,0791.0%$35,969
Bachelor's degree5.2%$29,7472.7%$36,972
University advanced certificate or diploma0.4%x0.2%$41,705
Master's degreeN/Ax0.3%x
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax0.0%$3,714
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

No regulating bodies were found under this occupation profile
Useful contacts:
Service Nova Scotia
PO Box 2734
Halifax, NS B3J 3K5
Tel: (800) 670-4357
Fax: (902) 424-0720

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Adult high school/secondary diploma programs
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the high school level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.
See all institutions providing this program+
Universite Sainte-Anne
Siège Social: 1695, Route 1
Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0
(902) 769-2114
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus
PO Box 550, 1 Main Street
Springhill, NS B0M 1X0
(902) 597-3737
Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus
21 Woodlawn Road
Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7
(902) 491-4900
Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus
372 Pleasant Street
Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2
(902) 742-3501
Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus
236 Belcher Street
Kentville, NS B4N 0A6
(902) 678-7341
Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus
75 High Street
Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8
(902) 543-4608
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries
PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue
Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0
(902) 752-2002
Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus
PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road
Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0
(902) 875-8640
Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute
226 Reeves Street
Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2
(902) 625-2380
Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus
PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6J7
(902) 563-2450
Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus
36 Arthur Street
Truro, NS B2N 1X5
(902) 893-5385
Additional resources:

There are no additional resources for this occupation.