Some of the "professional" school bus drivers are a joke.
Obviously, you've never been thru CA's school bus driver training program, which, btw, is the envy of nearly every other state in the nation.Minimum
of 20 hrs of classroom training, including first aid.Minimum
of 20 hrs of behind-the-wheel. (Most newbies need 30 - 40 in a stick-shift, especially a RoadRanger.)
Before starting the above training, you must take and pass the written exams for a Class B/P CDL. You must also take and pass the DL-51 DOT physical.
After completing the classroom training, you must take another 1 hr written exam at the CHP office that administers the School Bus program locally.
Only after passing all of the above are you allowed to take your behind-the-wheel exam.
Lots of folk can get all of the above done, but then totally blow it on the BTW.
Why?Because it's 2 - 2.5 hrs long with a CHP officer who specializes in school bus operations riding shotgun - and these guys DON'T mess around!
If you don't pass the pre-trip inspection (which is even more rigorous than the pre-trip that's posted over on BNO) with the officer glaring over your shoulder, you get to pay another 58 bucks to try again, without even turning a wheel.
If you pass the pre-trip, then it's time for the road trip, which includes all of the federal CDL requirements, plus parallel parking, RR crossing etiquette, student crossing etiquette, etc. Slip up here (like forgetting to take the keys out of the ignition when leaving the driver's seat for ANY reason, or allowing the coach to roll back, even slightly, on an incline when starting from rest), and the officer drives the bus back to the office, and you get to pay another 58 bucks to try again.
You'd also better learn to do it with a stick-shift coach, too, otherwise you'll be restricted to automatics only. If you're doing it in a stick-shift, you'd better know how to dead-throttle start smoothly (he'll actually ask you to do so!), double clutch w/o giving him whiplash both upshifting and downshifting, plus, if it's a RoadRanger or similar, you'd better know how to skip-shift and straight shift - smoothly. (One officer always put a styrofoam cup of water on the dash - if you spilled while shifting, you failed.)
If you take the exam in an automatic, he'll want you to demonstrate manually shifting the coach properly, too.
Oh, one other thing - if you live anywhere near the foothills, it's guaranteed that your driving test will include mountain driving. Plus you'll have to demonstrate that you know how to hang chains on the bus!
I'm proud to say that I trained a lot of school bus, as well as transit bus drivers here in CA, and very few of them were "jokes", as you called it. Primarily because the training program weeds them out - at least it does for the big transit-style skoolies most commonly found here (think Crowns & Gilligs).
And just FYI - most of CA's transit agencies require 8 - 10 weeks of 8 hrs/day training before letting a driver loose on the streets. Do the math - that's 64 - 80 hours of training, 90% of which is BTW. Virtually the same requirements as the skoolies, just w/o first aid in the classroom. Charter bus drivers, too, must pass similar requirements if they're going to be hauling school kids on charters.
CA's strict on bus drivers - and operator's too. That's probably why, overall, the state has a pretty good safety record, compared to elsewhere.
Now back to our regularly scheduled bus chatter. . .
FWIW & HTH. . .