Bus-Simulator 2012 is a job simulation in which the player takes the role of a bus driver (either a regular or a articulated bus) who works in the fictional city Freyfurt. The basic procedure follows the reality of bus driving: starting a route, approaching all bus stops in time and have passengers leave and enter. After finishing it, the game judges the player's performance based on a number of factors, e.g. punctuality or how well the vehicle was driven.
The focus is on depicting all functions a real bus has. For example, before starting the bus the player needs to activate a number of buttons, unlock the register and even set the height of the seat. During driving it is not only important to give out the correct tickets to passengers, but also to take the dynamic weather into account, e.g. by using the sun visor or activating the air conditioning respectively heater. When playing in expert mode, the game takes more factors for the evaluation into account (e.g. the temperature balance inside the bus) and unlocks more features like the tachograph including mandatory rest times.