It’s no secret that the country has had a rough few years in terms of the economy. There are cuts being made left, right and centre and unfortunately one of the industries that are suffering is the bus and coach one. These companies are essential for many people, who rely on them to get to and from work, or to the shops, but there are a shortage of bus drivers meaning this isn’t always possible.
Yes there have been cutbacks which mean that many companies cannot hire enough bus and coach drivers to fill all the routes that need filling, but there is another reason for this shortage. Westminster Transport Committee has brought to the attention of the public that one of the other reasons that there is a shortage of people is because recruitment isn’t what it used to be. Many companies have more buses or coaches than staff to drive them, and they don’t have enough time to recruit people the way they should be.
Many people have cited poor pay, unsocial hours and the general attitude of the public as reasons for putting them off the job. There are also a lot of conditions that bus and coach drivers need to meet before being able to drive safely and legally within this industry. These include passing a medical, obtaining the proper licence and completing a driver training course. Newly qualified bus drivers can also sometimes be left with a bond, which leaves them liable to pay back some of the cost of their training if they leave the company early.
As you can see, there are many reasons why there is a shortage of bus and coach drivers in the industry, but what people don’t see is the knock on effect this has to the general public. Many people are unable to drive themselves, and so rely on buses and coaches to get them to work, to visit friends and family or to go to the shops. In rural areas in particular, this can be a hard task, as many things aren’t within walking distance and the bus routes are few and far between. Because of the shortage, companies don’t have enough drivers to make all the routes that they could be so some people are left feeling isolated or ‘stuck’ at home. This further provides the general public with a negative attitude to the bus and coach industry – making the gap between the public and the driver even wider.
We understand that there is only so much that coach and bus companies can do in terms of recruitment – you can’t hire what isn’t there. And with everyone pulling their belts a little tighter, it isn’t always possible to have as many drivers as you would like to. But there are some things that this industry can do to help change the shortage of drivers in the country.
The attitude of the general public has been cited as one of the reasons that people don’t want to become drivers, so let’s go about changing that for the better. If we make the public feel safer, then they are more likely to trust bus companies, and therefore leave the negative attitude at the door. One of the ways to this is by installing CCTV in all buses and coaches, and letting the public know it’s for their benefit. This way both the driver and the public will feel better – and it will hopefully inspire more people to ‘come on board’ (pun intended) with the bus and coach industries.
Let’s start fixing relations between bus/coach companies and public and the rest will follow.