The supervisor of a bus firm in South Lanarkshire mentioned the corporate will wrestle to outlive if it can not fill driver vacancies.

Max Cairns, from JMB Journey, advised STV Information that many workers have left the enterprise to affix the HGV trade, which additionally faces shortages.

The corporate has 25 vacancies, however can’t compete with increased wages being supplied to drive lorries. 

“It’s posing a big problem and we merely can’t proceed to run the extent of service with out getting new our bodies within the enterprise,” he mentioned.

Trainee bus driver Kylia Aitchison.STV Information
Trainee bus driver Kylia Aitchison.

“It’s simply not viable anymore.”

The agency is now attempting to entice new drivers to the sector, with former cleaner Kylia Aitchison amongst these at the moment coaching.

She mentioned turning into a trainee bus driver was a “nice alternative” and she or he sits her principle take a look at quickly.

“It’s a really precarious time for the bus trade”.

Max Cairns, JMB Journey

“It’s scary to begin with,” she mentioned. “You’ve obtained your width and your size and all that to consider. It’s daunting at first, however you get there.”

The corporate is hopeful the coaching college can be a worthwhile funding – nevertheless it’s costing them round £3,000 per head and Scottish Authorities pandemic funding is because of finish in July.

Mr Cairns believes it’s too early to take away monetary assist, branding it a “crucial time” for the sector.

He mentioned: “We’re not again at regular passenger ranges and that’s a results of not working full companies as a result of we don’t have sufficient drivers.

“It’s a really precarious time for the bus trade”.

Huge companies struggling too

Bigger companies are additionally struggling to fill vacancies. First Bus mentioned it was down 300 workers on pre-covid ranges.

The corporate has additionally needed to cut back the frequency of companies and is relying closely on drivers working additional time.

Head of operations Paul Clark mentioned: “We’re in a really aggressive job market the place we’re having to compete in opposition to different sectors which we traditionally haven’t needed to do.

“The growth of dwelling supply, warehouse operatives and the big salaries that are actually obtainable to individuals to drive lorries within the HGV sector.”

Rhys Holland, First Bus driverSTV Information
Rhys Holland, First Bus driver

Brexit can also be impacting the enterprise, with the provision of candidates “considerably down”.

Amongst those that desire a profession behind the wheel, nevertheless, is Rhys Holland, who’s following in his grandfather’s footsteps.

The 19-year-old “liked” his 12 months of coaching and has been promoted to steer driver.

“At one level we have been driving over the Erskine Bridge and the solar was setting and I used to be like, ‘wow, I really receives a commission to do that job’ and that’s when it actually hit dwelling for me that that is the job I wish to do.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson mentioned: “Staffing pressures positioned on the bus trade because of the  Covid-19 pandemic are being compounded by the results of Brexit, which is inflicting labour market shortages throughout many sectors.

“We’re working with bus operators and our companions throughout the general public sector to advertise the bus sector as a spot to work whereas recognising that most of the levers are reserved to the UK Authorities.

“Now we have offered as much as £210m in funding to assist bus companies through the pandemic and £40m in extra funding to assist restoration this yr.”


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