Passenger Endorsement Training at Southwest Truck Driver Training

To transport 16 passengers or more (including the driver), truck drivers need to add a passenger or P endorsement to their commercial driver's license (CDL).


What Is a Passenger Endorsement?

A passenger (P) endorsement is a CDL endorsement allowing you to operate a bus or passenger vehicle with 16 or more people on board (including the driver). You must have a minimum Class C CDL to obtain this endorsement, but it's also available to Class A and Class B CDL holders. With this endorsement, you're trained in handling passengers and keeping them safe in addition to transporting them.


How to Get a Passenger Endorsement

To obtain a passenger endorsement, you need a CDL instruction or commercial learner's permit (CLP) with the passenger endorsement for the class of vehicle you drive. These permits are usually active for six months, so you have until the expiration date to take your skills test.

Passenger endorsement permit holders are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) carrying passengers, except for federal and state inspectors, test examiners, other trainees, and the CDL holder accompanying the permit driver.

You then need to complete an Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT)-registered course through a program listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Training Provider Registry.

After finishing the passenger endorsement course, you need to pass a passenger endorsement knowledge exam and skills test.

Those wishing to obtain a passenger endorsement must also undergo a federally required background check with their local Department of Motor Vehicles or Motor Vehicles Division office before taking and passing the 50-question endorsement knowledge exam and road skills test.


What Does Passenger Endorsement Training Include?

The curriculum for passenger endorsement training includes a combination of Theory and Behind the Wheel instruction. There's no minimum required number of hours for training.

Federally approved theory instruction for the passenger endorsement must include the following topics:


  • Americans With Disabilities Act compliance
  • Cargo management
  • Distracted driving
  • Fueling
  • Hours of service
  • Idling
  • Passenger safety and management
  • Penalties and fines
  • Post-crash and other emergency procedures
  • Pre-trip, en-route, and post-trip inspection
  • Railroad-highway grade crossings and drawbridges
  • Roadside inspections
  • Safety belt safety
  • Security and crime
  • Vehicle orientation
  • Weight stations


What's on the Passenger Endorsement Test?

Behind-the-wheel instruction must include the following:


  • Cargo management
  • Passenger safety and management
  • Pre-trip, en-route, and post-trip inspection
  • Railroad-highway grade crossings
  • Vehicle orientation


The knowledge test for the passenger endorsement covers:


  • Appropriate responses to emergency situations, such as fires and unruly passengers
  • Correct procedures at railroad-highway grade crossings and drawbridges
  • General operating practices
  • Proper braking procedures
  • Proper procedures for loading/unloading passengers
  • Proper use of emergency exits, including push-out windows


The skills test requires candidates to properly operate a passenger vehicle.


How Long Is a Passenger Endorsement Good For?

The passenger endorsement is valid for as long as your CDL is valid.


What Can Disqualify You from Getting a Passenger Endorsement?

Certain motor vehicle violations and criminal convictions can temporarily disqualify you from obtaining a passenger endorsement.

Depending on the conviction, serious criminal offenses can bar you from one year to life. These include:


  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance while operating a CMV
  • Refusing to take a state or jurisdiction-required alcohol test
  • Using a CMV to commit a felony
  • Causing a fatality through the negligent operation of a CMV
  • Driving a CMV on a suspended permit or license


Serious traffic violations can disqualify you for 60 days to one year, depending on the severity. These include:


  • Speeding excessively
  • Driving recklessly
  • Following a vehicle too closely
  • Violating local or state laws on using a hand-held mobile device while driving
  • Making erratic or improper lane changes
  • Driving a CMV without a CLP or CDL
  • Not following proper railway-highway grade crossing procedures


Passenger Endorsement Program at Southwest

Southwest Truck Driver Training offers passenger endorsement theory coursework and testing at all three of its campuses. This program is intended for students who either already have their CDL A or CDL B and would like to add the P endorsement or who would like to pursue the P endorsement with a CDL A or CDL B program.

Southwest Truck Driver Training's ELDT-registered passenger endorsement training consists of a four-hour Theory and Knowledge course. Although SWTDT doesn't offer Behind the Wheel or Basic Control Skills training for the Passenger endorsement, it can administer the test.

If the passenger endorsement is of interest to you, please mention it when you inquire about our programs.


Types of Jobs for a Passenger Endorsement

You can operate several commercial vehicles with a passenger endorsement. These include city buses, general paratransit vehicles, shuttles, tour buses, school buses, farm labor vehicles, and segmented buses.

You can apply for a career as a shuttle driver, which typically involves driving large vans from airports or train stations to hotels or other destinations.

Working as a school bus driver entails driving students to and from school or other activities like sporting events and field trips.

Transit bus drivers transport people within a city or region on a specific schedule and follow designated routes. They're responsible for answering questions about routes and schedules and ensuring passengers pay the required fare.

Tour bus drivers transport passengers on sightseeing or chartered trips. In some instances, they may also work as tour guides.


Salaries for Passenger Drivers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for passenger drivers was $37,540 in May 2021. The lowest 10% earned less than $22,810, while the highest 10% made more than $61,230.

That same month, transit bus drivers earned a median yearly salary of $48,620. School bus drivers made $37,910 annually, and shuttle drivers earned $30,000.

Passenger vehicle drivers must have at least a Class C CDL. Class A or B CDLs are also okay.

Those with a Class A or B CDL can drive larger vehicles. Class A CDL holders can operate any combination of vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more. Class B CDL holders can drive a single vehicle with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more.

Generally, Class A or B CDL holders drive large trucks or vans serving a variety of purposes. It's not uncommon for Class B CDL professionals to drive buses, though.

These commercial drivers earn around the same salary as passenger drivers. For instance, according to BLS May 2021 data, the median salary of a delivery driver was $36,660. Tractor-trailer drivers received a median annual wage of $48,310.

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