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A training bus is a type of bus or coach that is used by bus operators and PSV driving schools for the training of bus drivers to introduce them to the driving skills required for transporting passengers in a large vehicle. Driving a training bus on the road is an important part of driving training, as it is the most practical way to gain the necessary driving skills in safety, using a similar vehicle to a service bus without passengers on board.
A training bus is usually a bus that has been retired from the passenger-serving fleet. Some bus companies may repaint the bus with a special livery to signify its roll as a training bus after the bus is retired from the passenger-serving fleet, which is usually white or a plainer version of the company's regular livery. Some bus companies may also remove most of the facilities (such as passenger seats) from a training bus, so that those facilities can be installed onto some newer buses. On a training bus, there is also usually another seat for the driving instructor (trainer) next to the driver's seat. This allows the instructor to monitor how trainee is driving and give appropriate instruction when necessary.
Once drivers have passed the bus test they are then allowed to drive a regular passenger service with an trainer present to be given further instruction in the operation of the service and the handling of fare paying customers, prior to being allowed to operate solo. Some companies operate a regular reassess policy were an trainer or inspector monitors the drivers driving and customer service skills during normal service as part of there quality standards.
Most of the big operators ran there own driver training and used a variety of old buses for training as there were a wide range of gearbox and transmission types to master in different models in their fleets, before the modern automatic transmision became standard.
The use of training buses for practical training are especially popular among the Hong Kong franchised bus companies. In Hong Kong, training buses are known in Chinese as "訓練巴士" (pinyin: Xùn liàn bā Shì).
In contrast, other jurisdictions may use active-service buses for training; this will be at non-peak service times when more buses are available. The head sign may be set to read 'TRAINING', and a sign mounted at the rear as well.
The Toronto Transit Commission uses training buses on regular routes or roads with a sign display the bus as a training bus for real life training for new drivers. The bus will not be in service and will only stop briefly at select bus stops.
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