Ah, the GPS. What a fantastic little device! We at Northstar Bus Lines equip all our buses with them. They help all drivers—from those who work in school bus services to those who work in other group transportation services—to plan the quickest route to any destination. That’s certainly a plus when you’ve got excited kids in the back, or are focused on getting a religious group to their retreat on time!


Unfortunately, however, no technology is perfect. GPS systems, as amazing as they are, can sometimes fail to take into account traffic, weather, and other concerns. The route they show is the quickest route under ideal conditions.


So, if you’re studying for your class B CDL and learning how to become a bus driver, how do you make sure that the route you plan to take actually is the quickest? You’ll need to be able to drive efficiently once you get a job. Northstar Bus Lines, a Maple Grove school bus contractor, has some helpful tips for that below.

Know the Area

This goes without saying, but you, as a driver, should be familiar with the area in which you plan to work in. This goes beyond having a mental map of roads in your head—it’s about knowing when, say, hazards that your GPS can’t pick up are likely to appear.


For example, you should know when there’s high pedestrian traffic that might mean you’re making frequent stops (thus taking up extra time). You might also need to familiarize yourself with the quality of the roads themselves. For instance, which roads tend to ice up quickly and require slow driving? What roads are prone to flooding?


Knowing the area allows you to plan ahead and defy the directions of your imperfect GPS system. Having a mental map of hazards allows you to adjust your route for said hazards, while still making all your stops if applicable.

Plan Ahead for Bad Weather

On the subject of planning ahead, bus drivers must plan ahead for bad weather to ensure the quickest route. Check the radar the night before you leave for the route. Is it scheduled to rain? Storm? Blizzard? Certain roads might not get de-iced, plowed, or drain as quickly as others. You’ll need to take this into account and study maps before you leave to adjust your route accordingly.

Need Help Practicing for your Class B CDL? Contact Northstar Bus Lines Today

Becoming a bus driver is no easy task, and training can be expensive and time-consuming. That’s why at Northstar, we will pay for you to learn how to drive a bus and become a driver with us. To learn more about this fantastic opportunity, contact our Maple Grove location today at 763-425-2542.