Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

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oztraveller
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Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by oztraveller »

Hi all,

Long time forum reader/new poster here.

First of all, as an observation, there seems to be very little recent activity in this forum, which surprises me - I thought there would be lots of lively discussions regarding "bus driver shortages" and how to fix them? If I'm looking in the wrong thread, happy to stand corrected. In any case it's good to be able to liven up this thread again :)

Secondly I am after some expert advice - after a long career working in I.T., I am now looking for something completely different to do; I've had bus/truck driving on my radar for some time but I now have the opportunity to do something about it, after leaving my previous (and final) I.T. job. I'm 61 now so don't really want to make a full time career out of it, but it's an itch that I'd really like to scratch and give it a go, even on a casual basis for 20 or so hours a week. I enjoy driving in general and having spent a long time steering a computer on a desk, it would be great to be out on the road instead.

I live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and would be interested in people's thoughts on working for Keolis Downer at Brookvale Depot; the industry in general seems to cop a lot of flak regarding low pay, safety, long hours etc, but would like to know if there's anyone who currently works out of Brookvale that could pass on their thoughts on the reality of bus driving in 2022. Happy to discuss via private message if people are more comfortable doing that, instead of in the public forum.

Thanks all and look forward to hearing some stories! :D
Merc1107
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by Merc1107 »

Will fire off a PM in due course, but in short, if you don't have a HR license, perhaps look somewhere that will provide that within the training course.

If you enjoy people, enjoy driving, that's the "hard" parts dealt with. It's an enjoyable job if you approach it with the right attitude; there are crankies at every depot who drag down morale with their petulant whinging. Stay away from them.

Otherwise all I can say here is, give it a go and see what you think. Once you've got some initial experience and a good driving history to go with it, you can basically walk into a bus driving job anywhere in Australia if you don't like your current workplace. That could be long-distance coach work, charters, school work, urban service or even FIFO. Anything. The entire industry from coast to coast is desperate for staff at the moment.
oztraveller
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by oztraveller »

Hi Merc1107,

Many thanks for your sage advice, it's a refreshing change from some of the "the sky is falling" mentality that seems to be prevalent on Facebook groups! I agree 100% the best idea is to stay away from the energy vampires as they will only drag you down. Look forward to reading your PM and hope to see other current drivers contributing to the employment discussion. Thanks again!
oztraveller
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by oztraveller »

(crickets....)

Apart from Merc1107, is there no-one that wants to add some input into this discussion? :D
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boronia
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by boronia »

If you're living on the northern beaches, you might want to consider CDC-Forest.

They are constantly advertising on social media, offering traineeships. I believe it was a good place to work in the pre CDC days, hopefully the same vibe is still there.

Bus driving is what you want to make of it. It can be stressful, esp if it involves a lot of city driving. You just need the right attitude.
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Merc1107
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by Merc1107 »

oztraveller wrote: Mon Aug 08, 2022 8:47 am Many thanks for your sage advice, it's a refreshing change from some of the "the sky is falling" mentality that seems to be prevalent on Facebook groups!
The toxicity (whether direct, insinuated or otherwise) of many enthusiast groups played a part in my abandoning Facebook.

There are those who think the sun shone out of the STA's behind; all the more power to them. Likewise there are those who feel the same about the private sector, or specific players within that sector. Every contractor has its ups and downs: The good bosses, the bad bosses, the helpful coordinators and the spiteful ones. Some larger contractors are lumbering bureaucracies of a greater magnitude than any Government department or Government transport provider... all I can say to anyone in that situation, good luck!
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busdriver12
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by busdriver12 »

Merc1107 wrote: Sun Aug 07, 2022 12:08 pm Will fire off a PM in due course, but in short, if you don't have a HR license, perhaps look somewhere that will provide that within the training course.

If you enjoy people, enjoy driving, that's the "hard" parts dealt with. It's an enjoyable job if you approach it with the right attitude; there are crankies at every depot who drag down morale with their petulant whinging. Stay away from them.

Otherwise all I can say here is, give it a go and see what you think. Once you've got some initial experience and a good driving history to go with it, you can basically walk into a bus driving job anywhere in Australia if you don't like your current workplace. That could be long-distance coach work, charters, school work, urban service or even FIFO. Anything. The entire industry from coast to coast is desperate for staff at the moment.
+1

Fully concur with the above sentiments. After 26 years in the industry (and not far off retirement) I can say it's easily the best job I've done since leaving school :) The company I work for has a presence in Sydney and if you're after any more info, please feel free to PM me.
Phil

All views expressed are strictly my own and do not represent my employer or anyone else.
oztraveller
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by oztraveller »

Thanks all, some great info here. Busdriver12, are you able to send me a PM and I'll reply to that? Looks like I haven't posted enough yet to get PM permissions. I'd like to have a chat regarding your Sydney presence as you mentioned.

Appreciate the responses from all and look forward to seeing further discussion. Incidentally I'm possibly in a "sweet spot" in terms of distance to depots, with CDC/Forest Coach Lines, Busways Willoughby, and Keilos Downer at Brookvale all within a short drive :D

Just another question that has been at the back of my mind; being in Sydney, one of the things I've been wondering about is the incidence of driver safety issues, as there seems to be regular media reports of drivers being physically assaulted/spat on etc, which in my previous work is something I've never been exposed to (and bus drivers should not have to be either, ever). Does anyone have any thoughts on this or experiences they can share? I'm assuming the incidence is pretty low in relative terms per driver, but it's definitely something that's crossed my mind.
Merc1107
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by Merc1107 »

oztraveller wrote: Mon Aug 15, 2022 11:25 am Just another question that has been at the back of my mind; being in Sydney, one of the things I've been wondering about is the incidence of driver safety issues, as there seems to be regular media reports of drivers being physically assaulted/spat on etc, which in my previous work is something I've never been exposed to (and bus drivers should not have to be either, ever). Does anyone have any thoughts on this or experiences they can share? I'm assuming the incidence is pretty low in relative terms per driver, but it's definitely something that's crossed my mind.
In some cities, reports of incidents on buses are completely overblown in terms of how "chronic" the issues are. Perth, where I started out, springs to mind. Darwin would be the complete opposite. :shock:

Early on in the job, I was allocated a Saturday nightshift. My last trip was one that holds great notoriety among many staff. Drivers in the mealroom made quite a fuss over how "troublesome" that particular service is (fare evasion, nuisance youths, buses being sabotaged etc); wouldn't describe myself as "scared ****less", but I was quite concerned about what lay ahead. This notorious last bus ... was a bus full of Seniors coming home from a night out. Notorious trip my arse. Yes, that particular run was where you'd find trouble - but it was nowhere near every bus, every day.

Particularly in an environment with open-channel radios, you quickly learn which staff have a target on their back with their attitude towards passengers. The first impression is everything - a greeting, being helpful, and understanding towards personal circumstances (which isn't easy, I might add) goes a long way to getting a passenger on side; passengers, often those captive to the bus service, will stick up for their driver if they're treated well. Some of the notorious troublemakers seem to have a knack for knowing which drivers they can cause an incident with, and it turns into something of a game for the instigators. In an ideal world, there would be adequate security and consequences for this sort of behaviour (vs putting drivers behind a cage that may only exaggerate antagonistic behaviour on their behalf), but that isn't the case.
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

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Your PM permission has now been enabled.
Living in the Shire.
oztraveller
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by oztraveller »

It's been a while since I posted here, and I've noticed the Employment thread looks a bit lonely, so I thought it was time for an update :-)

I've been busy researching and applying for various jobs, not all bus related - Sydney Trains trainee driver (failed abstract reasoning test), Sydney Light Rail trainee driver (failed something in the assessment, haven't been updated with test results yet), so it might be a while before I get another go at these roles.

I have also talked to a couple of local bus operators, and had an interview with one, and am waiting on feedback, although it seemed to go OK. It seems as though there are currently no casual jobs available with most local operators, and I would have to go with either permanent full or part time. I think at this stage I'd probably go part time and then see how it goes from there.

Stay tuned for further updates!
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booma
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by booma »

Some part timers are doing more vot at V than any one else currently. I'm doing more vot now more than ever and still more than 1600 trips a week are cancelled across the region, it's insane, it was not meant to be like this, even school buses are getting cancelled...

I wish you all the best and hope to meet you soon
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lunchbox
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by lunchbox »

GETTING A BUS "AUTHORITY"
I recall a 2023 (?) news item wherein the $70 application fee for a Bus Authority had been waived (by Premier Minns?) in order to encourage applications for "Bus Authorities".
I've just been charged (June '23) the $70.
Something's wrong at TfNSW.
Can someone identify that news item please?
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boronia
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by boronia »

Probably another of those Minns/Haylen promises that haven't come to fruition yet.
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lunchbox
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by lunchbox »

Transport for NSW can claim the prize for turning the no-reply email into an art form. Their spelling, not so good. Their website urging people to become bus drivers declares that the $70 Application Fee has been waved (sic).
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lunchbox
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by lunchbox »

^^^^^^^^^boronia (above) appears to have guessed correctly.
The TfNSW website now says, under the heading "Apply for a Bus Driver Authority" -
"From 1 August 2023 the government has introduced a $70 fee waiver......"
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Magnetic
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by Magnetic »

How are the conditions for bus drivers on average. Looking at the KD EA and it says you get told when you have to have annual leave and in some circumstances you could be given as little as two weeks notice about your leave. That’s garbage. Is this just normal in the bus world?
I hate my job and I like buses. However I can’t see many benefits working for a bus company. The conditions seem to be substandard
Merc1107
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by Merc1107 »

Think that's a fairly standard provision if memory serves correct; leave has to be applied for and approved, and if a staff member accumulates too much, they'll be told to go away for a while, perhaps KD works a bit differently, but I cannot see why they would.

School holidays, Easter, Christmas/NY and any other religious holidays (depending on the makeup of the workforce) are all in high demand for leave.
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boronia
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by boronia »

Rostered leave has been common in many workplaces, to ensure there is adequate staff across the year. Usually they will allow you to swap allocations with another employee.

Workplace laws have details of how annual leave is handled.
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Magnetic
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Re: Working as a bus driver in Sydney 2022?

Post by Magnetic »

Merc1107 wrote: Sat Dec 09, 2023 1:22 pm Think that's a fairly standard provision if memory serves correct; leave has to be applied for and approved, and if a staff member accumulates too much, they'll be told to go away for a while, perhaps KD works a bit differently, but I cannot see why they would.

School holidays, Easter, Christmas/NY and any other religious holidays (depending on the makeup of the workforce) are all in high demand for leave.
That’s how leave works in my current job. I have no issues with that. I wouldn’t want to be told when I have to have leave, especially with little notice. I ended up looking at cdc EA and theirs seems to be a little more normal. You’re only forced to have leave if you accumulate too many days.

My workplace has made vague references to having an annual leave roster in the past and every time that happens there’s a massive blow up. People say they will resign if that happens. I mean most won’t but still the passion is there.
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