Welsh bus company warns drivers in short supply as Brexit and pandemic bite
A Welsh bus company has warned that a dearth of drivers is causing problems for the industry.
The shortages have been caused by Brexit as Europeans return home, and also the Covid pandemic prompting some drivers to retire early.
The shortage of HGV drivers and higher wages now offered in that industry has also encouraged some bus drivers to make the switch.
New Adventure Travel (NAT Group) which has its headquarters in Cardiff has 150 vehicles.
But managing director Adam Keen said that he had vacancies for 30 per cent of drivers.
He was covering them through agency staff which were costing 60% more than permanent drivers, he said.
Even though they were not yet in a position where they had to turn down work, he know of rivals who had been unable to hire contracts and had been forced to do so, he said.
Andy Warrender, operations manager for coaches at the trade body the Road Haulage Association, said the number of vacancies across the bus and coach industry had topped 5,000.
Some operators had begun rescinding on contracts for school busses because of the non-availability of drivers, he told the Financial Times.
“It’s bordering on a serious situation,” he said.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport, a trade body, estimates that vacancies have more than doubled since 2019 to six percent.
“We are seeing issues of driver availability impacting on some bus services,” they said. “However, the vast majority of services are continuing to run as normal.”