Tour Bus Driver

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by shawnalynn, Feb 19, 2013.


    SHO-TYME Road Train Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Dahlonega, GA
    Most companies won't even talk to you if you have no bus experience. I got my experience when I was a tech/co-driver with Blackhawk. I enjoyed driving buses and moved up quick, but it's alot of work. Steve pretty much hit it on the head.

    Insert BUS for TRUCK and this pretty much covers it.

    1. If you want to be a rock star, you in the wrong end of the business.You're not there to watch the show, you're there to HAUL the show. I've seen more people get fired by doing something stupid rather than doing their job.

    2. Learn to fix things on your truck, you don't have time to wait on the side of the road waiting for someone to come and put a belt on your truck. I was at a show and a new bus driver pulled in, and he'd messed up the rear axle by not lifting the wheels while turning, he wanted a beeper unhooked, when I asked him for a screwdriver to show him how to do it he replied, "I don't carry any tools, it's not my job to work on a bus." I told him, "You won't be here long."

    3. If you can't get into a dock quickly, you won't be there very long. There are 10 guys making good money to load or unload your truck, if it takes you 45 min to back into a dock, someone is losing alot of money.Stay with your truck, when it's ready to come in, if you're not in it and can't be found, time is wasted. If there are more than one truck on the tour, you'll have a lead driver, do what he says, if you don't, don't expect to be there long.Plus, if you work your way up to a lead driver, you make extra money. On big shows, the load in will take longer, but on a load out, most shows are done in under 4 hours. (Shows like WWE,WCW, big arena concerts etc.)If they go over 4 hours, it costs alot of money.

    4. Drive smooth, you have $100,000+ worth of gear in your trailer, if you tear it up by driving like an idiot, you won't be there long. If you tear up your truck, same deal. When I drove buses, on my last gig I was on, I drove 400+ miles with a bottle of wine sitting on a marble countertop and it didn't move. If you drive a bus, the crew or entertainers need to sleep at night, so driving smooth is very important.

    5. You will probably be in charge of how the truck is loaded, learn the pack, your job depends on it.

    6. Dragging friends backstage without permission will get you canned faster than you think. Giving someone your laminate to get backstage will also get you fired. Losing your laminate on some shows will cost you $50 for a repalcement, whine about the cost, you'll be gone soon.

    7. On some tours, you may given money for fuel, expenses, etc. Keep EVERY receipt, losing receipts or money WILL get you canned, plus you WILLl have to come up with the missing money.

    8. Primadonnas need not apply.

    9. Keep your logs and truck legal, you can't call the team owner and tell him you're locked in a scale for 10 hours, and you're to be there in 4 hours, because you didn't keep your logs up to date.

    10. On some tours you may get a hotel room, don't trash the room or cause problems at the hotel, I've seen more people get fired on a day off for doing something stupid.

    11. Some tours now wrap their trailer with the tour on it, remember, you are pulling a rolling billboard, you have to watch your P's and Q's, you're representing that team and sponsors, racing through traffic, etc., will get you canned.

    12. See #8
    al_huryn Thanks this.
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  3. Steve3662

    Steve3662 Light Load Member

    Jan 9, 2013
    Mt Juliet, TN
    Ago-Tyme you are correct. Most people think you live this rock star life but you don't as a driver. Some times it's great others its a pain in the butt. Some gigs are a breeze and others are a nightmare. Sometimes they give you rediculous load in and out times times. I remember one time we left Seattle Washington and had three days to get to our ferry appointment to go to New Founland. Then another 500+ miles to St Johns through fog and moose country was on the ferry right in the middle of the remnence of a hurricane. That six hour ferry ride was suppose to be part of my break. That didnt happen. On the driving you got to learn not to care what other people think. I'd take the whole road if I could on curves and such and slow down to 30 before I even hit the exit ramp. I will give it one thing it teaches you to look way ahead and not follow anyone too close. When I was with Sister Hazel I pulled a trailer Kurt left a open bottle of water on the sound board case it didnt spill from Denver to Nashville. I was quit proud of myself. I remember my first day with them Ken came up and scared the crap out of me (thought I was going to get fired). He woke up came up to the drivers area and said (in a halfway angry voice) in all my years in a bus I have never ever drive like you do (of coarse I thought he was going to say I drove like crap) I have never slept so good since I've been out here. I liked driving for those guys. I would still be doing it for them if it wasn't for kids and the family. I didnt like that god aweful wrap they had on the bus though. We had the hard rock theme park magical mystery tour. It looked like something out of the 60's. it was cool though we had the actually magical mystery tour bus the beetles used being hauled on a truck from show to show. But lord that was a loud bus heck I think it glowed in the dark.
    al_huryn Thanks this.
  4. al_huryn

    al_huryn Medium Load Member

    Apr 19, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Fiddler's Green is one of those nightmares, 18 trucks there this past summer was fun...I'm still very new to it but the tours I've done so far have been very educational to say the least...
  5. Steve C

    Steve C Bobtail Member

    Jan 1, 2013
    Wichita, KS
    Do you mean regular charter tours, or band tours?
    I just got my CDL A with Hazmat, Tanker, etc. and have been offered a job at a charter bus company.
    Has anyone out there driven for this type of company?

    SHO-TYME Road Train Member

    Apr 20, 2011
    Dahlonega, GA
    If you think driving entertainer buses is bad, go drive seat coaches. Plus you have close to 50 people's lives in your hands. I'll go drive for USA before I'd drive a seat coach....
  7. svtruckdriver

    svtruckdriver Bobtail Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Portersville, PA
    I have driven every kind of bus for the past 30 years (except the entertainer buses) and I didn't mind the seated buses. However, a lot of companies will run you ragged, for around 10 bucks a hour, because they think you get big tips...Hate to say, but tipping is pretty much lost out there any more, at least it was in Florida...

    However, that said, it was not really all that bad. Most of the time, the people were really nice and it was a good time. I enjoyed it, and took a ton of pictures everywhere I went...

  8. PackRatTDI

    PackRatTDI Licensed to Ill

    Jul 15, 2006
    El Chuco, Tejas
    The regional bus companies here usually pay around $12/hr. You'll do charters as well as regular runs (El Paso to LA, Denver, Dallas, Houston, etc) But they prefer bilingual (as in you better speak Spanish because 90% of your passengers won't be able to speak English).
  9. Ladydepty

    Ladydepty Bobtail Member

    Mar 31, 2013
    Steve3662.. How do you get into driving for Stage Call? I'm a recently medically retired officer. I have my commercial drivers license and looking to do some type of driving job
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