Alex Hornby, CEO of northern England bus company Transdev, says bus services across the country continue to be affected by the driver shortage.
A relatively small number of trips operated by Transdev on its routes have had to be canceled, but the bus company says it is doing everything it can to help resolve a situation which, according to the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), has resulted in a shortage of more than 4,000 drivers nationwide.
The number of customers on Transdev buses continues to recover from the pandemic, but the firm says potential drivers at its training center, The Academy, are waiting more than three times longer than usual to obtain their licenses and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) confirmed test dates, causing delays in their passage from the classroom to the road.
Mr. Hornby said: âWe are grateful to our colleagues and clients for their patience with us; we understand how frustrating it is to cancel trips, and it’s the last thing we want to do, especially at a time when we are drawing more and more people to the bus.
âWe are running a recruitment campaign highlighting the many benefits we offer to new drivers, including a welcome bonus of Â£ 1,000 for those who are already licensed.
âAt present, we have 95 new colleagues at the Academy. They just want to complete their training and be on the road serving our customers, but instead they wait more than three times longer than usual for licenses and test dates confirmed by the DVSA.
âNow is the time for our industry to need help in resolving these delays, so that we can deliver service with confidence and bring more people back on board. At the level of the whole industry, we call on the government to speed up requests for provisional licenses and to release the availability of theoretical and practical tests.
âWe also want to introduce our own delegated examiner to help process the tests, but the DVSA training necessary to help us introduce these roles remains on hold. In the meantime, we will continue to do everything possible and continue our campaign to recruit more new drivers. “
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