Passenger Transport Test Study Guide for the CDL

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Care of Passengers

Passenger safety is the first concern of a bus driver. Make certain that passengers are safely seated before closing the bus doors and setting off. If there are standing passengers, allow them plenty of time to brace themselves. Starting, stopping, and driving should be smooth. Avoid quick turns.

Standee Line

Buses that are designed to have standing passengers will have a standee line, or other method of indicating to passengers where they cannot stand. The Standee Line is a 2-inch-thick line on the floor. Any standing passenger must remain behind this line.

At Each Stop

At each stop, announce:

  • location
  • reason for stopping
  • next departure time
  • bus number

Remind passengers to gather their belongs and watch their step. Best practice is to remind them before the bus comes to a complete stop.

Don’t allow unsupervised strangers on the bus. Don’t open the bus to passengers until departure time. This is to help prevent theft and vandalism.


Most bus companies have rules regarding smoking, playing music, loud talking, etc. Explain the rules before the trip begins to avoid difficulties later on.


Use the interior mirrors to watch the passengers while driving. You may need to remind them about the rules.

At Stops

Passengers can stumble while climbing on or off a bus. Caution passengers to watch their step. Each bus company will have its own rules about helping passengers, or where to stand to assist passengers. Some buses “kneel” or are equipped with folding/sliding stairs. Learn how to operate these features on your bus.

Drunk and/or Disruptive Passengers

Each bus company will have their own rules about dealing with drunk and/or disruptive passengers. Never discharge a passenger in a place that is unsafe. The best spot might be at the next scheduled stop, or a well-lit area where there are other people.

Evacuating The Bus

Should you need to evacuate the bus, it is important that passengers are:

  • given a brief explanation
  • told where/how to exit the bus
  • told where to go after exiting the bus (a mustering place)

Note: Unless there is danger on the bus, keeping the passengers on the bus is usually safer than having the passengers wander away, or into traffic.

Avoiding Accidents

It is a given that you, as a bus or van driver, want to avoid accidents. Here are some things you need to know:

  • Many bus accidents occur at intersections. Even though there are signals controlling the flow of traffic, do not assume that other drivers will stop and/or yield.

  • Know how much room your bus needs. Watch for side obstacles in your mirrors. Watch that the back of your mirrors don’t strike any objects. Watch for tree limbs and parked cars.

  • As you pull from the curb, be aware that nose swing is opposite to “tail swing.” As you steer left (to enter traffic)—the rear of your bus moves right (toward the curb).

  • Pulling into traffic, ensure your bus has enough gap to enter the flow of traffic. Do not assume that other drivers will stop/slow to let you in.

  • A special word about curves: Excessive speed on curves is extremely dangerous. With good traction, the bus could roll over. With bad traction, the bus could slide off the road. If the bus leans toward the outside of a banked curve, you are driving too fast.

  • The design speed posted on warning signs is not for buses. “Design speed” is for cars running on dry pavement with good traction. When in doubt , reduce speed.


Keep scanning your mirrors as you drive along. Don’t focus too long on mirrors, this could cause you to lose track of what is happening in front of your bus. Keep your eyes moving around. Proper eye scanning and mirror use allow better situational awareness. Buses have various types of mirrors. The large flat mirrors (Western Mirrors) allow you to see the sides of the bus and things far behind. Convex mirrors (“Target Mirror” or “Bullseye”) allow a greater field of view. (Objects in convex mirrors are closer than they appear.)

Required Stopping

Railroad Tracks

Railroad crossings are extremely dangerous. It is difficult to accurately determine how far away a train is, how fast it is traveling, or how many seconds until the train arrives. There can be more than one track at a crossing, so there could be multiple trains. Visibility can be limited. Sightlines can be obscured. Not all railroad crossings are protected by flashing lights. Some crossings are protected with a simple sign.

Stop At Every Railroad Crossing

Unless you know that stopping is not required:

  • Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before the railroad crossing.
  • Listen and look both directions (open the front door, if it helps you see or hear).

Note: Parts of a damaged railroad car (or a shifted load) can extend 15 feet over the side of the rail.

When Stopping Is Not Required

Some situations don’t require stopping. Slow down and check for trains and other vehicles, but don’t stop:

  • at railroad tracks that run down the middle of the road (railroad “street running”)
  • at streetcar crossings
  • where a policeman or flagman is directing traffic
  • if the traffic signal is showing green
  • at a railroad crossing marked as “exempt” or “abandoned”

Additional Railroad information

  • After waiting for a train to pass, be certain that there isn’t another train on a parallel track.
  • Never shift gears while on railroad tracks (if you have a manual transmission).
  • Never stop any vehicle on railroad tracks.


Stop at every drawbridge, unless you know that stopping is not required:

  • Stop your bus at least 50 feet before the bridge’s draw.
  • Check (by looking) that the draw is completely closed.

When Stopping Is Not Required

Some situations don’t require stopping. Slow down and make sure it is safe:

  • if the bridge has a traffic light showing green
  • if the bridge has a control officer or attendent that controls traffic

Post-Trip (After Trip) Vehicle Inspection

Part of a proper post-trip is inspecting your bus. If you work for an interstate carrier, you will also fill out an inspection report. This report will list any safety issues, any mechanical issues that could lead to breakdown, and any issues that make the bus “not legal” to operate. Filling out this report allows the mechanics time to fix defects. Submit this report promptly, so the bus can be repaired before the next driver needs the bus.

Note: You should never operate any vehicle if it is unsafe or not legal. If you discover any issues while en route, you must report them as soon as possible to your dispatcher or mechanical department.


This is a list of things to never do:

  • Never fuel a bus with passengers on board (unless absolutely necessary).
  • Never fuel a bus in a closed building with passengers on board.
  • Never talk with passengers while driving.
  • Never get involved with distracting activity while driving.
  • Never tow or push a disabled bus with passengers on board the disabled bus (unless deboarding the passengers would be unsafe). If you must tow or push a disabled bus with passengers on board, only move the disabled bus as far as the first safe place to deboard passengers.
  • Never use a door interlock instead of setting parking brakes.

Note: Some buses have an interlock that keeps the throttle in idle and the transmission in neutral if the rear doors of the bus are open. This is not a substitute for setting the parking brake and properly securing the bus.

Things that Might Be on Your Written DMV Test

  • What things are checked when inspecting the interior of the bus?
  • What sort of HazMat can be transported by bus?
  • What sort of HazMat cannot be transported by bus?
  • What is a standee line? How wide is it? How many passengers can stand in front of it?
  • Where can’t a disruptive passenger be discharged?
  • What are some examples of where a disruptive passenger can be discharged?
  • At a railroad crossing, how far back from the tracks should you stop?
  • When do you not need to stop at a railroad crossing?
  • When do you not need to stop before a drawbridge?
  • What are the items on the “Prohibited” list that is shown above? (all of them)
  • Is the best way to set the parking brakes to open the rear door of your bus?

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