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New proposals just the ticket for getting young people into transport

News / Fri 12th Apr 2024 at 08:38am

YOUNG people could soon find more careers in transport, following Government proposals to lower the minimum age requirements for bus and coach drivers and speed up training for bus, coach and lorry drivers.

Today (11 April 2024), Roads Minister Guy Opperman has launched a consultation to remove a restriction that currently states that 18 to 20-year-old bus and coach drivers can only drive routes up to 50km.

While they can already drive an articulated lorry with no distance limit, currently a fully trained 18 to 20 year-old driver can’t operate a coach from London to Manchester, or the scenic Coastliner bus route across Leeds-York-Yorkshire coast, due to the 50km restriction. These proposals are looking to change that.

With more bus and coach drivers safely trained to drive on our roads, bus operators could be able to run more services, especially in rural areas where bus routes tend to be longer.

This will bring more reliable services and help passengers travel with confidence.

This comes on top of further proposals for prospective bus, coach and HGV drivers to start theory and off-road training right away, rather than having to wait to have their provisional licence, meaning they can get started on their training journey immediately.

More qualified lorry drivers will support a stronger haulage sector, helping ensure medical supplies reach hospitals, parcels are delivered on time and supermarket shelves are always stocked.

If the proposals are introduced, all prospective bus, coach and HGV drivers will be held to the same training requirements as before to ensure Britain’s roads remain among the safest in the world, but will mean drivers can complete training and get working more quickly.

Roads Minister Guy Opperman said:

“Being a bus, coach or lorry driver can be an excellent career for young people and these proposals could help get younger talent into transport, encouraging diversity in the sector.

“This could be a win-win, not only improving job opportunities for those leaving school, but also going some way to continue to ease driver shortages, delivering more reliable bus and coach services and a more resilient supply chain as part of our plan to grow the economy.”

With industry data estimating the national bus driver shortage to be 6.6% and the coach driver shortage at 13.6%, the measures could open up a brilliant career in transport to younger people, tackle driver shortages and help improve the reliability of bus and coach services, growing the economy to deliver a brighter future for all.

Graham Vidler, Chief Executive, Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: 

“We warmly welcome this consultation on two key proposals championed by CPT to address the challenge of driver shortages faced by the coach and bus sector.

“Allowing new recruits to get on with off-road training while awaiting their provisional licence will ensure more trainees complete the course and become safe, qualified bus or coach drivers. As 18 year-olds are allowed to drive an articulated lorry already, there is a clear case for allowing them also to drive all types of coach and bus services.”

In particular, the proposals could help family-run British businesses like Stanley Travel recruit more drivers, providing more services and greater choice for local travellers.

Andrew Scott, Director of Stanley Travel, said:

“As a medium-sized, family-run coach company, we’re always looking to attract younger bus and coach drivers to our sector.

“We fully welcome these proposals which would remove the entry barriers to the industry, help us run more services to provide customers with greater choice, and open up fantastic careers as a coach driver for young people.”

The consultation comes only a few weeks after local councils in England have been allocated £143 million to roll out almost a thousand zero-emission busesand deliver cleaner, smoother and better bus journeys for all.

The Department has also invested over £3.5 billion since 2020 to protect and improve bus services, in addition to £1 billion to improve bus services in the North and the Midlands and extend the £2 bus fare cap to the end of this year, both thanks to reallocated HS2 funding.

Lorry drivers are already benefitting from better working conditions following a total £31 million in joint Government and industry investment to improve truckstops up and down the country by delivering better rest areas, improved welfare facilities and more secure lorry parking.

Declan Pang, RHA Director of Public Affairs & Policy, England said:

“We have long supported proposals to attract younger people into the role and address the ageing coach driver workforce which is a barrier to the sector’s growth. 

“The age restrictions have constrained the sector’s ability to attract young people and, considering someone can drive an HGV from 18, puts the coach sector at a disadvantage.

“These proposals could improve prospects for coach operators and we look forward to seeing them implemented.”

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6 Comments for New proposals just the ticket for getting young people into transport:

voteforme
2024-04-12 09:04:52

Is this an example of "big state" so disliked by Adam. We have an announcement dressed up as an achievement. Guys, if you all think it is a good idea just go ahead and do it. I have no idea of the specifics of the rules, I presume that safety will always be high on the list. Like most I suspect, I am more interested in when the next bus is coming.

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-12 09:26:12

When is the next bus coming 😄 🤣 Why did Harlow council buy London old buses, because of the bad pollution they give of, only to pollute Harlow.

jarrett
2024-04-12 10:26:18

Harlow council buying buses? that's news to me i did not realise that the council had a stake in the bus companies operating in Harlow, Kim why do you blame Harlow council for everything from your toilet cistern to the lack of a new hospital to potholes? as i have said before if people cannot differentiate between local ,county and national Government they should be disenfranchised.

peter
2024-04-12 11:08:08

Some of the airport buses were brand new in 2017

Mr Grumpy
2024-04-12 14:26:18

The salary of a bus driver is not good considering the huge responsibility they carry on their shoulders for people's safety. When I inquired about salary's, as I was interested in becoming a driver, I found the salary was similar to the minimum wage for a starter !!!

Kim Oconnor
2024-04-13 09:20:45

I and my partner saw an advert on the back of a buss yesterday saying there salary was £650 a week, there calling for more people to sign up to be a buss driver.. if true, coz ya can't believe everything you read.. I don't think that's a bad salary.

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