The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said it is amending the Transportation Management Regulations (汽車運輸業管理規則) to address a shortage of tour bus drivers.
Ministry statistics showed that the nation lacks about 2,000 tour bus drivers, even though the line of work offers a higher monthly salary than a new college graduate can expect on average.
Some bus operators have reported hiring drivers who said they have three years’ experience driving large passenger buses, the ministry said, but, while these drivers do possess a license to drive large buses, they have not actually driven the vehicles in the past three years.
Allowing these drivers to operate on routes that pass through mountainous areas would create safety concerns, the ministry said.
Based on the ministry’s proposed amendment of the regulations, individuals who want to drive large tour buses must have at least two years of experience driving large passenger buses.
Those who have more than one year of experience, but do not meet the two-year requirement, can qualify if they undergo an additional 101 hours of training and pass a driver’s test.
Current regulations require drivers to have at least one year of experience driving passenger buses to be licensed for medium-size buses. However, the amendment would lower this requirement to less than one year, provided that drivers receive an additional 36 hours of training.
The amendment would also allow bus operators to recruit licensed drivers with no experience driving school or private shuttle buses. Currently, school bus drivers also must have at least three years of experience operating large passenger buses.
Taipei Tour Bus Association chairman Alex Lu (魯孝亞) said that individuals licensed to operate large passenger buses who lack experience can begin by driving school or shuttle buses as part of training provided by bus companies.
Like public buses, school bus drivers operate on fixed routes, Lu added.
Lu said these school bus drivers could move on to drive larger tour buses after accumulating sufficient driving experience.
“The amendment will address the shortage of tour bus drivers,” he said.
The average salary of a school bus driver is between NT$35,000 and NT$40,000 per month, Lu said.
Once these drivers accumulate enough experience to qualify to drive larger tour buses, their average monthly salary could rise to NT$55,000, and even NT$100,000 in peak travel seasons.
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