The UK coach sector has been hit by a driver shortage similar to that in the HGV sector, and the coach division of the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has launched a campaign to tackle the causes and effects of the professional driver shortage.
While the shortage of HGV drivers has been all across the news, coach operators have also been experiencing a shortage of drivers.
The RHA is helping to tackle the shortage of drivers in the passenger transport sector, with a very clear approach to recruitment in the sector, which is outlined in their campaigning document for RHA Coaches.
Issues at DVLA and the backlog of licence applications have been a major problem, and the RHA is pressing for the service to be improved. It’s vital that the huge build-up of applications is processed as quickly as possible, so that new entrants can be trained and tested efficiently.
In the longer term, it is campaigning for a new career path leading from education directly into the coach industry. Currently, there are limited opportunities in the industry for young people, leading most to find work elsewhere. It is advocating that with changes to the rules for domestic PSV driving, this gap can be bridged. This proposal has the backing of all members, and is one it is pushing ahead with.
So far the apprenticeship scheme for passenger transport drivers has had limited success in driving recruitment.
However, the RHA is now an accredited provider of apprentice training, and members are keen to explore this avenue further. This has the potential to raise the status of the profession further and make it more appealing to new entrants.