UK faces shortage of bus drivers as staff ‘leave in droves’ for higher-paying truck jobs – .

UK faces shortage of bus drivers as staff ‘leave in droves’ for higher-paying truck jobs – .

Bus drivers are quitting their jobs “en masse” for higher-paying heavy-duty jobs and have left some providers with no choice but to cancel services, a union said.
The UK Passenger Transport Confederation (CPT) has estimated that there are currently over 4,000 vacancies for bus and coach drivers across the country.

Derby, Stockton-on-Tees, Nottingham and Loughborough services are among those affected by the driver shortage.

A CPT spokesperson told Sky News: “Operators have recruitment plans in place and we are in discussions with the government and its agencies to ensure that the recruitment and training process is as streamlined and efficient as possible.

“What we now need to see is the requirement for a provisional license to be issued to begin training abolished and the DVSA [Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency] not to give priority to the tests of heavy goods vehicles to resolve the shortfall in this sector to the detriment of the bus and coach sector. “

In most cases, bus and truck drivers who renew their licenses can continue to drive while their application is being processed, the DVLA said.

A spokesperson for the DVLA said: “There is no delay for the applications for provisional permits for buses and heavy goods vehicles which are currently issued in about five days – we are prioritizing these requests and seeking ways. to further accelerate this process. “

Bobby Morton, national head of passenger transportation at Unite, told Sky News that the sudden shortage of drivers is due to the shortage of truck drivers in the transportation industry.

He said drivers have the choice of getting behind the wheel of a lorry for £ 20 an hour or a bus for £ 10 an hour.

He said: “A number of things truck drivers share with bus drivers are very long hours, huge levels of fatigue, lack of basic facilities such as toilets and washing facilities.

“And the mindset of bus drivers right now is that in the transportation industry employers have thrown money on the problem, on the shortage.

“So the mindset is now, if we are to work in these Victorian conditions then we might as well earn £ 20 an hour for driving the truck, versus £ 10 an hour for driving a bus. Bus drivers are therefore leaving en masse to go to the other industry.

It comes after bosses in the transport, recruiting and food sectors warned ministers on the government’s Trade, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee that the UK’s truck driver shortage “is not visibly improving not ”and could take about a year to recover.

Figures revealed by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) earlier on Tuesday showed that the number of drivers has fallen by 53,000 over the past four years, largely due to the fact that retiring drivers have failed. not replaced quickly enough by new recruits.

Bus services crossing the East Midlands have had to reduce the frequency of buses on a number of routes.

Routes through the suburbs from Derby to Allestree are among those affected. Trentbarton, which operates the service through Derby, has 90 of its 900 vacant driver positions, a shortfall of 10%.

The problem arose with the retirement or relocation of some drivers, while others left for heavy truck driver jobs.

“Right now the transportation and logistics industry is literally throwing money at drivers to fill their gaps,” Jeff Counsell, managing director of Trentbarton, told Sky News. “The difference is they can pass that cost on to the consumer – we can’t easily pass that cost on.

“We have not been allowed to increase rates for the past 18 months. We have not made a profit in the past 18 months because we received a government grant.

“We can’t compete with the logistics and distribution industry right now.

“Other cost pressures are also increasing – so fuel, for example, is costing us £ 100,000 more so far in 2021 than in 2020, as the price of fuel rises. “

The Ministry of Transport has been approached for comment.


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