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UK Now Facing Bus Driver Shortage

UK bus drivers are ‘leaving in droves’ to find better pay in the HGV industry, causing a shortage in services, according to union Unite.

The Independent reports that the Unite believes there are 4,000 vacancies for bus and coach drivers across the country, and some companies have been forced to cancel services due to driver shortages.

Unite’s national officer for passenger transport, Bobby Morton said: “It all goes back to the lorry drivers, the shortage of lorry drivers in the haulage industry.

“And a number of the things that lorry drivers share with bus drivers is very long hours, massive fatigue levels, lack of basic facilities such as toilet facilities and washing facilities.”

He explained that many bus drivers are in the mindset that if they are to continue working such long hours and poor conditions, they may as well do it for more money as HGV drivers get £20 an hour rather than £10.

Trentbarton, which operates services in the East Midlands said that it had been forced to reduce the frequency of services on several routes.

Jeff Counsell, the managing director of Trentbarton, said driver shortages are ‘having an impact on a daily basis at the moment’.

Trentbarton has a shortfall of 90 drivers out of its workforce of 900, and while some drivers have retired or relocated, some have left to join the haulage industry.

According to the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), bus operators have put recruitment plans in place, and discussions are underway with the government to help streamline the recruitment process.

“What we now need to see is the requirement for a provisional licence to be issued to begin training abolished and the DVSA to not prioritise HGV testing to resolve the shortfall in that sector at the expense of the bus and coach sector.”


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