school bus driver greeting child

Being a bus driver is a stressful job. You need to keep to a tight schedule and deal with unpredictable situations every day.

That’s why it’s so important for a bus driver to carry a durable and rugged smartphone at work.

Traffic can be hectic, and you need to have a phone that can endure drops and scratches. There are many fantastic options on the market, and we’ve gathered the top 10 solutions for everyday use.

1. CAT S42 H+

CAT S42 H+ Medical Phone side tilt

This is a modified version of Cat S42 and comes with unique and valuable innovations. The H in CAT S42 H+ stands for “hygiene” and implies that the phone offers anti-bacterial properties.

It comes with a specialized coating that kills 99% of bacteria within 24 hours. This feature is immensely beneficial for bus drivers, as they work in an environment susceptible to bacteria growth.

Like most CAT phones, this is a rugged device with IP68/69 military rating and Gorilla Glass 5 protection. It also comes with excellent battery power, 3GB RAM, dual SIM support, and 4G compatibility.

Pros:

  • Anti-bacterial coating
  • Robust and extremely durable
  • Waterproof to 1.5m for up to 30 minutes
  • Bleach and harsh-chemical resistant
  • Phenomenal battery life

Cons:

  • Basic storage options

Rating: 4.9/5

This is a reliable phone with all the necessary smartphone features. But it comes with an important focus on the wellbeing of people who work in unique environments, like bus drivers.

2. Sonim RS60

Sonim RS60 Mobile Computer Scanner Energy Electronics Rugged Tablet

If you’re looking for a complete mobile computer, the Sonim RS60 is a device to consider. It’s a lightweight yet incredibly rugged phone and Smart Scanner powered by the Android 10 operating system.

It is resistant to water, dust, and even chemicals, making it a great choice for any environment. The phone has a six-inch screen made with Gorilla Glass 3, making it nearly impossible to shatter. It also features an anti-fingertip coating and a flashlight that comes in handy.

Pros:

  • Pressure-resistant exterior
  • Chemical-resistant properties
  • Easy to disinfect

Cons:

  • Pricey

Rating 4.5/5

Bus drivers who want smartphones with full features and complete protection against the elements and impact should consider the Sonim RS60. It might be expensive, but it’s a phone that can take a lot of punishment and still work reliably.

3. CAT62 Pro

Cat S62 Pro black rugged smartphone

This phone is a fully rugged device designed to deliver performance in nearly every working environment. It features an aluminum frame, Gorilla Glass 6, IP68 dust and water rating, dual SIM functionality, Android 10 OS, and an impressive 128GB internal storage.

The camera features thermal imaging technology, a temperature spot meter, and a front and rear camera. Apart from offering excellent performance, the CAT62 Pro features a sleek design, which is impressive as it’s not easy to achieve for a rugged smartphone.

Pros:

  • Gorilla Glass 6 protection
  • Upgradable OS
  • Thermal image camera
  • Sleek Design

Cons:

  • Average camera quality

Rating: 4.9/5

This is a fully rugged device built to last and perform in any situation. A bus driver carrying the Cat 62 Pro can expect durability, impressive speed, and waterproof and dustproof properties.

4. CAT S22 Flip

CAT S22 Flip Information open and closed

If you want a rugged smartphone for work and love the flip phone design, the CAT S22 might be the perfect solution. Its size alone makes it easier to carry, especially when driving and you don’t want to use a mobile phone holder.

This device meets all the strict standards of CAT rugged phones, including waterproof and dustproof rating and tolerance against extreme temperatures. The phone also features push-to-talk technology, which is helpful to bus drivers.

Pros:

  • Excellent durability
  • User-friendly
  • Push-to-talk feature

Cons:

  • Smaller display

Rating: 4.5/5

For many bus drivers, nothing beats the convenience of a flip phone. When you consider the CAT S22 Flip ruggedness credentials, it’s clear why the device is an excellent choice for everyday use.

5. Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2

duraforce pro 2 black forward facing

This is another ruggedized solution of the beloved flip phone design. By choosing Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2, bus drivers get a device that’s incredibly resistant to shock and vibrations and can withstand being dropped from over five feet.

Engineered with Japanese precision, this rugged phone offers impressive standby battery life, a push-to-talk feature, and excellent speakerphone quality. It also comes with programable keys, a two-year warranty, and an IP68 rating. Both front and fear cameras feature propriety glass technology which makes them shatterproof.

Pros:

  • High-quality cameras
  • IP68 rating
  • Absorbs vibrations well

Cons:

  • Might feel heavy

Rating: 4.4/5

The Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 is an ideal phone for bus drivers who want the basic smartphone functionality in an ultra-rugged package. The programmable keys and excellent camera quality are great bonus features.

6. LG Phoenix 4

LG Phoenix 4 front view black smartphone

If you’re searching for a durable smartphone on a budget, the LG Phoenix 4 might be a fantastic solution. The five-inch screen and relatively thin design make it effortless to hold and operate.

For an inexpensive smartphone, it has excellent battery life with 16 days of standby time and over 12 hours of talk time. Even though it’s made from plastic, it features excellent resistance to dust and moisture.

Pros:

  • Affordable solution
  • Excellent battery life
  • 16GB internal storage

Cons:

  • Could be more rugged

Rating: 4.1/5

The LG Phoenix 4 might not be the quintessential rugged phone, but it has what it takes for bus drivers with relatively easy-going working environments. Note that you’ll likely need to get a high-quality case to add another layer of protection.

7. Samsung Galaxy S6 Active

Samsung Galaxy S6 Active camo front and back view

Samsung phones are synonymous with high quality, which certainly applies to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active. The engineering team has created a rugged smartphone that comes with all the relevant features and doesn’t cost a fortune.

This phone runs on Android 5 and 6 and has a five-inch screen, front and rear camera, programmable buttons, 32GB internal memory, and a super sleek design. It also features an IP68 rating, making it waterproof and dustproof.

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Reliable performance
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Only 2GM RAM

Rating: 4.2/5

If you need a reliable smartphone with just enough ruggedness, the Samsung Galaxy S6 Active is an amazing option. It’s a particularly great choice for users familiar with Samsung’s interface.

8. Nokia XR20

nokia xr20 smartphone back and front

Those willing to invest a little more in a rugged device for work might take a closer look at the Nokia XR20. This device runs on Android 11 and has a 6.7-inch screen, 6GB RAM, 48MP rear camera, IP68 certification, and even a dedicated emergency button.

It’s one of Nokia’s latest devices, designed to cater to people working in challenging environments. The Nokia XR20 is reasonably priced considering its excellent specifications, making it a popular choice. Note that the phone doesn’t have 5G functionality.

Pros:

  • Gorilla Glass Victus protection
  • NFC functionality
  • Stereo speakers

Cons:

  • Sub-optimal battery life

Rating: 4.4/5

The slim profile and IP68 certification make it easy to use this phone for personal and work needs. The ruggedness is substantial but doesn’t impede the modern design and high performance.

9. Blackview BV9500 Pro

blackview bv9500 pro rugged smartphone back and front

This device features a minimalistic design as the manufacturer has utilized creativity on an impressive performance. It runs on 8GB RAM, has 128GB internal storage, a 48MP rear camera, a 5.84-inch screen, and dual SIM functionality.

Also, the screen is protected with Gorilla Glass 5, which offers excellent scratch and scuff resistance. External memory can be expanded up to 2TB, which is pretty impressive. In terms of battery life, you can safely use it for two days without charging, but anything more than that might not be a good idea.

Pros:

  • Excellent camera
  • Gorilla Glass 5
  • Dual SIM

Cons:

  • Average battery life

Rating: 3.9/5

The Blackview BV9500 Pro offers the right amount of functionality and ruggedness for many bus drivers. Its finest features make up for a few of those that might be lacking.

10. Ulefone Armor 9

ulephone armor 9 smartphone front view

Not everyone will look for the same features in a rugged smartphone, but durability is at the top of the list for most. The good news is that Ulefone Armor 9 comes with the IP69K rating making it drop-resistant and waterproof.

It features a tough design and runs on Android 10 with several integrated apps. The display is 6.3-inches in length, and the battery size is fantastic, giving the phone impressive talking and browsing time.

Pros:

  • Impressive battery life
  • IP69K rating
  • Sealed 3.5mm jack

Cons:

  • Awkward speaker position

Rating: 4.2/5

Bus drivers should have reliable phones that can withstand anything, and Ulefone Armor 9 definitely delivers. It might be slightly bulky and doesn’t make HD videos, but it’s as rugged as it gets.

What Is a Rugged Device?

rugged smartphone in mud and dirt

Rugged devices or ruggedized mobile computers are specially designed mobile phones or tablets that can withstand harsh environments, strain, and extreme weather exposure.

These devices are typically shatterproof and waterproof and are made from more durable materials than standard mobile devices.

They often come with a rubberized exterior that can absorb shocks efficiently, even when dropped from the fifth floor or when ejected from a moving vehicle.

Furthermore, rugged phones and tablets usually come with a toughened screen, as that’s often the most vulnerable part of a mobile device.

Why Does a Bus Driver Needs a Rugged Phone?

school bus driver greeting child

While rugged phones might be more frequently associated with construction workers or firefighter jobs, they actually have more versatile applications.

Bus drivers need a rugged phone because their jobs can be pretty unpredictable. If they have a road accident, they need a device that can withstand forceful drops to the ground, especially if they were attached to a phone holder.

They also need a phone with an excellent battery as their days can be long, and they might not have access to a charger. Regular smartphones are vulnerable to impact and drops, and their batteries are known to drain quickly.

Best Mobile Apps for Bus Drivers

white collar bus driver using smartphone

Driving a bus seems straightforward, but the work comes with many challenges. Namely, retaining focus to ensure passenger safety may require some practice and assistance. That’s where some of these mobile apps may come in handy.

LifeSaver

This app helps bus drivers minimize distractions. It automatically detects driving and blocks phone use. However, it allows hands-free calls and Google Maps searching. It’s relatively lightweight and doesn’t drain the battery either. Also, it’s easy to use and provides driver feedback.

Trackschoolbus

This app has several interface versions designed for parents, school managers, and bus drivers. School bus drivers have somewhat different jobs than those who work public transportation, whether within a city or long-distance. This app keeps track of the bus’s whereabouts and blocks phone calls when the bus is in motion.

Drivesafe.ly

This app allows drivers to listen to text messages in audio form as it effortlessly converts them. It also allows you to set up an automatic reply that explains why you can’t answer the phone at the moment. It’s easy to set up and offers radio and Bluetooth transmitter compatibility.

Zoom Safer

With this app, bus drivers won’t be distracted by email, browsing, texting, and calling. But they can set up a hands-free call function and a personalized auto-reply. On top of that, the app launches automatically when you start driving, so there is no need to activate it every time.

AT & T DriveMode

This app was designed to help all drivers stay safe on the road, including bus drivers. It silences incoming calls and forwards them to voicemail. The text messaging system comes with an automatic reply that you can customize. The app starts running automatically when the vehicle hits 25mph and shuts down when it drops below that threshold.

Top 5 Bus Driver Add-On Accessories

busses wait at bus depot for departure

There are several rugged phone accessories that can ensure even more safety and convenience.

Phone Holder

A durable phone holder is practical as it makes map tracking easier. Regardless of not making phone calls while driving, having easy access to the phone is more practical.

Portable Charger

Even if your phone has a durable battery, a portable charger in the bus can be immensely helpful. Having an extra charger around is beneficial if the bus breaks down and you and the passengers are stranded.

Bluetooth Headset

Buses don’t typically feature Bluetooth like most modern cars. Instead, bus drivers may need to buy a Bluetooth headset, connect it to their phone, and use it for hands-free call functionality.

Durable Phone Case

While most rugged phones for bus drivers won’t require a phone case for protection, some smartphones can still benefit from this accessory. There are many ruggedized cases available on the market these days. If you’d rather not buy a separate phone case, you can learn more about the Cat S62 Pro, or the Cat S42 H+, or our other ultra-rugged devices.

External Memory Card

As with any phone accessory, an external SD card might not be mandatory but is recommended. Unless the phone’s internal memory is substantial, you’ll need more storage space. Bus drivers might need to take pictures of specific situations or download useful apps that make their jobs easier.

How to Get a Bulk Discount on Rugged Phones

bus driver sitting in seat using smartphone

Bus drivers deserve to carry reliable and durable rugged phones. If you’re planning on providing an entire fleet of drivers with these devices, you can get a bulk discount on your order. All you have to do is reach out to Energy Electronics LLC and find the devices you like.

Talk to a Technology Expert

Picking the right smartphones for bus drivers can be tricky. Fortunately, we’re here to offer guidance. Fill out this form to help us understand what you need. An expert in the industry will reply in record time.