Bus Dispatchers

Dispatch Supervisor, Dispatcher (Dispatch), Operations Controller, Operations Dispatcher  

Bus dispatchers ensure that buses or motor coaches arrive on time to the appropriate location, and alert drivers to potential delays and changes in traffic patterns, driving conditions, or schedules. They are critical to ensuring that customer expectations of timely service are met. These workers maintain communication with bus operators on the road throughout the day through a growing array of technologies, including communications technologies, time-tracking software, GPS location-tracking systems, and more. Dispatchers prepare driving assignments and also communicate with maintenance personnel regarding equipment needs. When buses return from the road, bus dispatchers check them in and prepare records of trips. Bus dispatchers are responsible for understanding the laws, policies, and procedures regarding bus operation in their state.

Bus dispatchers report to a supervisor in the bus operations area. The dispatchers are situated in a garage environment, with access to the coming and going of buses. The garage is an indoor, climate controlled environment, but it may be subject to some uncomfortable environmental conditions, including bus fumes and changes in temperature. The work conditions are fast-paced and require quick action, clear communication, and solid judgment. Other workers, including supervisors, mechanics, and bus operators, are often present.

Since bus dispatchers maintain communications with bus operators, their shifts are similar to those of bus operators. Bus dispatchers usually have a five or six day workweek. Time off is highly structured in advance and assignments usually last three to four months. They may have to work one or both weekend days on a regular basis, especially as new employees. Some dispatchers work in the early morning, in the evening, or after midnight.

Bus dispatchers must have a high school diploma or GED. Many bus dispatchers are bus operators first. While this may not be required, bus dispatchers must have a solid working knowledge of the bus operations area. Dispatchers must be able to pass the tests associated with obtaining the type of commercial driver's license (CDL) required for the job.

To qualify for a CDL, applicants must pass a knowledge test on rules and regulations, and then demonstrate in a skills test that they can operate a bus safely. The Department of Transportation keeps a national database of all driving violations incurred by CDL holders, and a state may not issue a license to a person who has already had a license suspended or revoked in another state. Drivers may hold only one license at a time, and must surrender all other driver's licenses upon receiving their new CDLs. Information on how to apply for a CDL and each type of endorsement can be obtained from state motor vehicle administrations and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Many industry employers provide on-the-job training, but click on the "get qualified" tab above to see additional resources for job preparation and training.

More Details
Job Growth and Wages
Percent Job Growth:  
4% - Slower than average
Typical Wages (National):  
Annual: $29,200 - $49,600    Hourly: $14 - $24

Note:  There may be opportunities for overtime work and overtime pay in this occupation.

Physical/Medical/Health Requirements

- Physical requirements established by a state's Department of Transportation

Legal Requirements
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(Data Drawn from O*NET)

Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

High School or GED (HS)
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Percent Job Growth:

4% - Slower than average
Find Jobs

Typical Wages:

Annual: $29,200 - $49,600

Hourly: $14 - $24