Harrogate bus boss promises customers his company will 'always do our best' following disruption to services

Harrogate bus boss Alex Hornby has promised customers that his company will ‘always do our best’ as he reveals driver shortages are causing disruption to many services across the county.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 12:04 pm
Harrogate Bus Company Chief Executive Alex Hornby has called on the Government for support following driver shortages

A small number of journeys provided by Transdev across the region have had to be cancelled due to a shortage of drivers, however the bus firm says it fully realises the inconvenience caused and is thanking customers for their patience during this time.

Customer numbers on Transdev buses continue to recover strongly following the pandemic, with buses now carrying 85% of the numbers on board compared to the same time in 2019, ahead of the nationwide figure of 75% from the Department for Transport.

Chief Executive, Mr Hornby said prospective drivers at its award-winning training facility, The Academy, are currently waiting over three times longer than usual to get their licenses and test dates, leading to delays in moving them forward from the classroom and on to the road.

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He said: “We’re grateful to our colleagues and customers for their patience with us as we understand entirely how frustrating it is when journeys are cancelled, and it’s the last thing we want to do, especially at a time when we’re attracting more people back to the bus,”

“Right now we have 95 colleagues at The Academy, our in-house driver training facility and they just want to complete their training and be out on the road serving our customers, but instead, they are waiting over three times longer than usual to get licenses and test dates confirmed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

“We’re using social media and our Transdev Go mobile app, which tracks all our buses in real time, to keep customers informed and we’re running a high-profile recruitment campaign highlighting the many benefits we offer to new drivers, including a £1,000 welcome bonus to those already holding a license.

“Now is the time our industry needs help to resolve these delays, so we can deliver services confidently and get more people back on board.

“Most of our buses are running as normal and we are attracting new drivers, so the current delays to licensing and testing are very frustrating.

“At an industry-wide level, we’re asking the Government to speed up the provisional licence applications and free up availability of theory and practical test.

"We are also keen to introduce our own delegated examiner to help process testing, but DVSA training needed to help us introduce these roles and remains suspended.

“Meanwhile, we’ll continue to do all we can and continue our campaign to recruit more new drivers.”