Finding a Commercial Driving Job With a Passenger Endorsementby Jake Tully - Published: 12/01/2017
There are some truckers out there who have long held a dream of using their CDL license in order to serve a slightly unique side of the commercial transportation industry - moving passengers, rather than freight, from point A to point B. Perhaps the idea of operating a bus for your city seems like highly fulfilling work and translates well into your commercial vehicle operating skills.
Some drivers even dream about operating a shuttle or tour bus of some sort, maybe even for a celebrity or a famous rock band.
Whatever one’s aspirations may be in regards to deviating from the usual truck driving job and the typical types of freight, there are plenty of opportunities available for an individual looking for a trucking job with a passenger endorsement. A "P" Endorsement isn’t just required in order to fulfill one’s dreams of driving a bus, it is another valuable avenue to pursue in order to diversify your offerings as a job seeker and a professional on the road.
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What is A Passenger Endorsement?
Similar to the other endorsements that a driver can attain, the passenger endorsement lists its purpose in its name – with it, a driver is allowed to carry people rather than cargo or other living freight (such as animals.) Research shows that California boasts one of the highest rates for truckers who carry a passenger endorsement – perhaps due to a great deal of commerce in the state that deals with tourism and other travel-related endeavors.
This particular endorsement is not just one that turns a trucker into a bus driver, for a position that requires a passenger endorsement will also require an individual to use their trucking-related skills. Just as there are variations of the types of trucks that one might drive with a Class A license (from a reefer trailer to a flatbed truck and everything in between) the vehicle one might drive when they possess when they receive the P will see them operating sophisticated machinery.
The most prominent difference between a driver who can drive passengers is the atmosphere they may be trucking in. While traditional drivers are hitting the asphalt and inhabiting the Smokey and Bandit lifestyle, a trucker job that deals directly with people will take one through vastly different landscapes and arenas of driving.
What Kind of Jobs Does a Passenger Endorsement Offer?
As is the case with other endorsements, a driver who attains the P Endorsement will invariably have a greater chance of finding more commercial driving positions than those who do not. While this type of driving does not deal with refrigerated loads or heavy hauls, it does deal with an incredibly interpersonal type of operating that requires a specific type of individual.
- Tour Buses: One of the largest category of trucking jobs that a driver with this specific endorsement will see are positions that deal with the realm of tourism and private travel. If you are one who has ever dreamed of driving a band around the country from gig to gig, look no further than this line of work
- Hospitality Industry: Many drivers who have their P endorsement find that their line of work ties in quite nicely with the hospitality industry. To this end, many drivers with the class P endorsement may work somewhat hand-in-hand with industries such as hotels, travel and hospitality in order to fulfill needs such as transporting resort-goers around an area or helping with the vacation experience overall. Florida may offer a great deal of these opportunities for a trucker, as tourism is one of the largest industries in the state
- General Shuttles: The name “shuttle” may be somewhat deceiving, for a driver will not always necessarily be operating a small shuttle like one might see at a museum or an arena, Rather, a shuttle may refer to a commercial vehicle of much larger stature, sometimes with the capacity to carry up to hundreds of riders.
No matter what type of run or equipment one uses with their P endorsement, it is imperative that drivers understand the niche they are breaking into with this type of occupation – which may translate to dealing with the inconsistency and unpredictability of people versus inanimate cargo.
How Well Do These Passenger Jobs Pay?
Pay for this type of position is dependent on three primary factors – the geographic location one is working in, the type of clientele that one works with, and the type of equipment one is driving.
Take, for example, the rock star model – a driver will likely be driving across the country or a large section of the country with a high-profile group of people driving a luxurious tour bus that accommodates the band and all of their people on tour. For this, a driver will be paid a pretty penny, though the opportunities may be few and far between.
The more casual driver who gets the normal clientele from Point A to Point B may see a starting salary of $31,435 every year (estimated for the state of Texas) – and that’s just to begin with. If a driver can get in with a company that requires regular and more strenuous work, one has the possibility to increase their salary by nearly 10%, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One of the unsung luxuries of the P Endorsement is the ability to have some flexibility in your schedule as well. More times than not, many individuals that have a P Endorsement find that they may be able to work a variety of gigs. When the duty calls, some drivers may be able to take a run of opportunities in operating a commercial shuttle for a resort – others may have the chance
to take a tour bus through the Midwest for a spin, just in time for the gig in Illinois.
In many ways, these drivers work within the realm of the freelance economy, so to speak. However, there are plenty of full-time opportunities available for drivers with this special qualification as well.
Am I The Right Type of Driver For Passenger Endorsement Jobs?
While there are a multitude of perks associated with this type of career, not every driver will be cut out for it. Job seekers considering this route of commercial transportation must understand the environment they will be working in as well as the type of cargo they will be transporting – namely, people.
A typical day in the life of a reefer driver, for example, will be wildly different than that of one who transports people. While reefer positions certainly offer their own unique challenges and difficulties, moving items will nonetheless require a markedly different effort than the effort put forth in moving human beings. Drivers interested in doing should ask themselves the following questions:
- How Are My People Skills? Despite the fact that you will not be a tour guide or an event coordinator, many passengers will nonetheless look to a driver as a source of information and guidance in their trip. Riders do not typically enjoy a curt or rude driver and in order to maintain job security, a positive disposition is key.
- Can I Respond Well To Unexpected Situations? People may pose real-time problems that freight does not. A problem with a passenger or a difficulty on the route itself may require a driver to take control of the situation and choose the best course of action in a timely manner in order to ensure safety and security on the job.
- Am I Willing To Feel As Though I am Someone’s Driver? Truckers across the country feel a great deal of autonomy despite following out the orders of dispatch or a fleet manager. Though they must abide by safety rules, they can tackle the route as they wish, within reason. Transporting passengers is often a different feeling altogether – those riding may feel entitled or consider their professional driver to be more of a professional chauffeur. This situation is unfair and unwarranted, but may be the case with an unpredictable market such as people are.
Consider the above as unavoidable aspects of the job. For those who can handle such an arrangement, a commercial truck driving job with passengers may be with you.
A Passenger Endorsement – Exciting and Flexible Positions
Perhaps the most appealing aspect about entering a career in commercial transportation with the P Endorsement is the ability to live out a career that defies what are considered “ordinary” trucking jobs. Driving passengers in any capacity may allow an individual to behold a variety of amazing sights or gather a great many experiences that other OTR or regional drivers do not.
The general public and those who may contract a driver can be utterly unpredictable at many times, but some thrive in a professional arena where anything may happen.
No matter what field a driver ultimately enters, securing a P Endorsement can only help to advances one’s professional driving career.