Bus services face disruption in several parts of the UK due to a driver shortage that has been catalyzed by Brexit and Covid.

Local authorities in Lincolnshire and parts of Northern Ireland have advised parents to make their own travel arrangements this week as there are not enough drivers to take the usual number of ‘children.

Lincolnshire County Council said the move, which coincides with the start of the new school year, was due to “the challenges currently facing transport providers in retaining and recruiting drivers”.

Bus lines to Somerset and York have also been canceled or have reduced service. The UK’s largest bus operator, Stagecoach, last week apologized for the disruption of services in areas such as Somerset, Cheltenham and Gloucester.

Rachel Geliamassi, Managing Director of Stagecoach West, said: “Like many businesses and industries across the UK, we are currently experiencing staff shortages due to the effects of the pandemic and Brexit.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) said bus companies were working to train new recruits to fill in the gaps left by drivers who had left the UK in recent months.

“There are pockets of short-term shortages caused by a number of issues, including self-isolating drivers,” said Tom Bartošák-Harlow, CPT spokesperson.

“Drivers who were at the end of their careers and who have been on leave at various times choose not to re-enter the workforce.

“A large part of the workforce is made up of EU nationals who have chosen to return to their countries of origin. The pandemic has also accelerated this natural turnover of staff.”

Public transport is the latest area hit by a labor shortage that has exacerbated the problems of many businesses, from hospitality to construction.

An estimated 100,000 truck driver shortage, compounded by a global disruption in supply chains, has created empty shelves and increased costs for a multitude of materials.

Supermarkets, pubs, fast food chains and construction companies have all experienced supply shortages that are expected to continue for months.

Retailers including Tesco and Waitrose have offered pay raises and bonuses to drivers in an attempt to attract new hires and keep people who left the industry returning.

Mr Bartošák-Harlow said bus operators had less difficulty recruiting new drivers and that he was confident that public transport problems would be short-term.

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Source: www.independent.co.uk
This notice was published: 2021-09-07 11:54:01

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