D category: the perspective profession of a bus driver

16-июл, 15;34 alexpuskins 172

Bus driving has significantly changed since Soviet times. 50 years ago, a conductor worked together with a bus driver, and his/her main task was to ensure that all the passengers had bought tickets - similarly as conductors on the trains do today. Once an indispensable tool in all buses was a broom. But nowadays it is no longer mandatory to have it located in a separate compartment. Among the main duties of the conductor was also sweeping the floor. But the bus driver was required to repair the bus with his/her own hands in case of an emergency. Nowadays, those tasks are executed by individual specialists.

The job of a bus driver has always been very responsible as it means taking responsibility for the safety of tens of passengers. That is why the D category is one of those that can be acquired only from the age of 24. To become a bus driver, in addition to D category one also has to undergo the code 95 training. The job of a bus driver is associated with stability and stable monthly income. One of the most recognized enterprises in Latvia that recruits D category drivers is “Rīgas satiksme”.

Very often the career takes the bus drivers to the business of trucks. Long distance truck drivers is one of the best-earning professions in Latvia. According to the portal algas.lv, the average monthly salary of a bus driver in Latvia is 1112 EUR. But the long distance truck driver earns about 1500-2000 EUR after tax. Besides, there is a constant lack of employees in this field, and that is why enterprises are forced to look for drivers from abroad. It is a very perspective profession the same as a bus driver - it is almost guaranteed to successfully find a job as there is a constant lack of employees.

How much does gaining the D category cost?

At the largest driving school in Latvia Presto the D category training lessons cost starting from 42 EUR. The minimum number of driving lessons set by the Latvian government is 6, which means that the minimum investment is at least 252.00 EUR. The theory expenses include registration fee, theory courses, first aid and medical certificate that sum up to 129 EUR. The RTSD related expenses include learner's driving permit, state theory and driving exams and issuing of driver's license which costs overall 91,54 EUR. It is possible to calculate that the expenses for obtaining D category sum up to 472.54 EUR as a minimum.

The European directive states that drivers of passenger vehicles also are obliged to provide proof of professional competence. That is code 95 or the so-called periodic training courses for professional drivers. These courses are 35 hours long and during the training one learns about legal acts, actions following traffic accidents, etc. The most expensive part of this training is the driving exam, and the first attempt costs 106.49 EUR but other RTSD related expenses such as learner's driving permit, theory exam and issuing of the licence make up 40.84 EUR. Registration fee and theory courses sum up to 50 EUR. If the first aid training has been done and the medical certificate obtained, it is possible to save 84 EUR.

In order to become a bus driver, one has to gain both D category and 95 training certificates that make up the minimum investment amount of 669,87 EUR.

Work opportunities for a bus driver

As one of the most popular choices of a D category driver is working as a regional intercity bus driver. For example, SIA “Norma A” offers a job for bus drivers in Rēzekne for a salary of up to 1400 EUR, social guarantees and additional motivation bonuses for sold tickets. One of the best known enterprises in the field of passenger transport is “Rīgas satiksme” that offers an hourly rate of 6.44 - 7.44 before taxes. Also such companies as “Liepājas autoparks”, “Ventspils reiss”, “Nordeka”, etc. are recruiting D category drivers.

Bus drivers can also work part-time, so driving a bus may become a way of earning additional income. For example, SIA “Latvijas Sabiedriskais Autobuss” is offering to work part-time - 1-3 hours a day, and the daily income is 15-20 EUR after taxes.

In addition to that, one can also become a bus driver for international routes. For example, one of the companies that recruits D category bus drivers is “Ecolines”. Applicants are expected not only to have D category drivers licence but certain language skills - one has to speak Russian and Latvian, but such foreign languages as English and German are considered to be an advantage. It is an opportunity to work in an international and stable enterprise, besides in case it is necessary it takes care of accommodation abroad and offers additional bonuses for qualitative work.

From a bus driver to long distance truck driver

The portal algas.lv has outlined the possible career development path for a bus driver, and it indicates that one of the potential future career choices may be a long distance truck driver. However, the switch may be as well vice versa, and a truck driver may become a D category bus driver.

In order to become a long distance truck driver, one has to obtain C and CE categories as well as code 95 certificate. The overall expenses for getting a long distance truck driver's licence sum up to about 1500 EUR. However, in the long run this investment clearly pays back as that is the average monthly salary of a long distance truck driver. Within just a few years, one can save a good amount of money - about 40000 EUR within 4 years. The good salary of a long distance truck driver is often the main reason why this profession is chosen. It provides enough income to take care of a family.

Deciding in favor of a long distance truck drivers or D category bus driver's profession, one has to take into account certain advantages and disadvantages. Even though the salaries of long distance truck drivers are high, those working in this profession have to be working abroad for long periods of time. It means that the birthdays of family members, Christmas and other significant holidays often cannot be spent together on a specific date. The salaries of D category bus drivers are lower but many will appreciate staying close to their family.

D category has a future!

According to guidelines set out in the European Green Deal on CO2 emissions, until 2050 it is planned to switch to environmentally more friendly vehicles. But in accordance with the concept developed by the Road Transport Direction and the Ministry of Transport, it is planned to implement measures to promote the choice of Latvians in favour of public transport.

In order to achieve this goal, it is planned to develop the concept of free public transport. In the future of bus transportation, it is planned to include both commercial and state-subsidised routes. Until 2030 it is planned to introduce the interval schedule as well as gradually transitioning towards zero emissions buses. The salaries of D category bus drivers are expected to increase in the future and their working conditions will be improved.

The Ministry of Transport has indicated that the future of D category bus drivers and bus business can be predicted for the upcoming 10 years. This makes the decision of gaining D category licence to be a safe path towards a positive future.

It is possible to apply for the D category training on the driving school website presto.lv!