There is no doubt about it the driver shortage in 2018 is still a major concern, ironically lhough Passenger Focus gives consistently high scores for the Bus and Coach sector certainly against other major sectors. This suggests that the front line facing staff are doing a really good job in their day to day relationships with the bus passengers. This is also surprising given that there is no doubt that the added burdens of congestion, air quality and other disruptive technologies (uber, cycling ,walking etc) are all impacting on reliability and punctuality. Not to mention the day to day impact on the drivers as they struggle to keep to timetables, as well as maintain a cheery disposition for an ever more potentially disgruntled passenger.
To be fair it begs the question why would you want to be a driver in the first place, what barriers to entry actually exist? Well lets take a little look at the entry criteria.First there is an interview to pass with the line Manager. Next there is a driving assessment, to either check your standard or if you do not have a license can you demonstrate the required skills to prove you can pass your PCV test in a prescribed period of time. These are all stresses that need to be overcome. Then after that there is a medical to pass, and after all that if you are not trained, then the hard work really starts.
When I did my PCV training it was exhausting as back then there were three trainees to one instructor, so you had to take it in turn to have your go. There was then an additional pressure as you did not want to be the flunker guy, who could not quite keep up. At the end of that you then have to pass your theory and then the practical exam, and that is when the real learning starts. Once inducted to the depot there are all the Company processes and procedures to learn, routes, timetables, handling the ticket machine, issuing the right tickets, learning the fares stages, handling money and accounting for it. Not to mention the long list of things that you are not allowed to do.
There is no doubt about it when you take a step back if you want to be a bus driver you need to be quite determined just to get to the stage where you can start a job. Then there is the question of having to obtain the CPC or to give it the proper title the Certificate of Professional Competence, to pay for this yourself costs a further £500.00 per driver and in todays modern world you have to have one by law. If you are lucky enough to join a Company where they will pay for it then you will also need to sign a bond. Similarly if you were trained to pass your PCV then you again will have to sign a bond so that if you leave the Company under a certain time threshold (normally two or three years) then you pay back a shed of load of money.
So taking a step back and considering everything are the barriers to entry that demanding? Well it depends what you compare it too. And it also depends on what sort of a person you are. If you are happy tom work in a factory or a shop doing the same thing day in day out and you are happy with that then fair play. But if you like to get out and about meeting different people never having two days the same, and being in an environment where you feel part of a team and enjoy all the banter that goes with it then maybe bus driving is just the job for you, as once upon a time it was for me.