Coach Operator

A coach operator is actually a professional bus driver who specialises in driving luxury buses which transport passengers long distances.

Coach operators are not only required to drive the coach, they also need to liaise with staff, customers and suppliers, adhere to fuel and speed policies, assist with luggage and the loading of luggage and do a head count of passengers in the coach.

Customer care is also one of their responsibilities and, as with most jobs, there is also some paperwork that needs to be completed. A trip sheet has to be completed at the end destination in each case, before the coach operator signs off duty, the coach must be filled up with fuel, an after-trip inspection carried out so that any defects can be reported and rectified, and finally, there is a debriefing with the operations controller.

Coach operators work shifts and the length of their shifts depends on the route they will be taking. They need to report for work two hours before departure and carry out a pre-inspection to check that the coach is roadworthy. Then then go to the coach depot to collect the passengers.

Along the journey, they make certain pre-determined stops, either as resting points or to collect more passengers en route. Once they reach their fiinal destination, there is usually a break of six hours off before they return to the home depot.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate

What to Study

To become a coach operator, you will need to have a NSC, followed by a Professional Driving Permit (PDP) and a Code 11/EC licence. You will also need to have at least three years’ experience in driving.


  • travel companies and tour operators
  • city councils
  • mines
  • transport companies.

Further Information

Coach Operators Association of Southern Africa /
South African Bus Operators Association
P O Box 1305
Randburg, 2125
Tel: (011) 787-5863 Fax: (011) 787-5898

Getting Started

  • speak to a coach operator about this career and ask if you can observe him/her at work
  • work on your driving and mechanical skills

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