Tips For Studying for the CDL Passenger Test

Passenger bus

Why Should I Get My Passenger Endorsement?

Being able to transport passengers is a huge advantage to have in your trucking career. Many commercial vehicles are designed to hold large groups of people, and that task comes with different challenges than general truck driving. If you get a school bus or passenger endorsement, you can legally drive groups of 16 or more people.

This endorsement can significantly change your career options. Being able to drive a bus may give you the chance to take on a more consistent schedule or drive locally.
Transporting passengers may also positively affect your income potential and your job outlook. Tractor-trailer truck drivers earn an average salary of $39,520 and bus drivers earn an average of $30,220 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). From 2014 through 2024, job openings for truck drivers may increase 5% and bus driver job openings may jump 6% (BLS, 2016).

Below, find out if these endorsements are a good fit for you and how you can prepare for your licensing tests.

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How Should I Study for My Passenger Endorsement?

In the majority of states, school bus and passenger are two different endorsements. You may be able to study for them at the same time, since they are very similar. Still, you have to study the specifics of each endorsement to succeed.

In the CDL manual for each state, you may find a section for transporting passengers and a section for driving school buses. The Virginia DMV lists the following topics in their section on transporting passengers:
• Vehicle inspection
• Loading
• Getting on the road
• Post-trip vehicle inspection
• Prohibited practices
• Brake-door interlocks

In the section on driving school buses, the following subjects are covered:
• Danger zones
• Using mirrors
• Loading and unloading
• Emergency exits and evacuation
• Railroad-highway grade crossings
• Student management
• Safety considerations

To pass your skills test, you must be able to safely drive a vehicle in your endorsement class. For a school bus endorsement, this is a school bus; for a passenger endorsement, it is any commercial vehicle that can transport 16 or more people.

Requirements for Passenger Endorsement

Since passenger vehicles are generally very structurally different from other commercial vehicles, you must pass an on-the-road skills test in a passenger vehicle in addition to your written test. After you pass the written passenger or school bus test, you can move on to the skills test. Passing both of these exams allows you to get this endorsement.

Each state sets different fees for CDL endorsements. If you want to add this endorsement in New Hampshire, you pay $10 per endorsement (New Hampshire DMV, 2016). In Utah, the fee is $7.00 (Utah DPS, 2016).

You may add this endorsement to your license when you are applying for your initial license or at any point afterwards, as long as you have a valid commercial driver’s license. It renews on the same schedule as your CDL.

Transporting passengers is a highly specialized area of commercial driving, since you must think of the safety of your passengers in addition to your safety and the safety of others on the road. Studying for this test should show you how to safely and efficiently load and unload passengers, eject disruptive passengers, stick to a tight transportation schedule, and ensure that passengers with special needs get the assistance they need.

Try to split your time evenly between driving practice and studying for your written test. The written test can be challenging since it refers to specific statistics, ratios, and statutes, which is why it is crucial to know the details of this endorsement.

Ready to start preparing for your new license endorsement? Find out what you need to study by trying our practice test.