Industry desperate for workers

Employers in the bus industry desperate for workers.

The growth in public transport patronage over the past 4 decades has required more buses on the road and more drivers. A major industry report released by the Bus Industry Confederation (BIC) takes a deep dive on the operational task of keeping buses moving on our roads and examines the growth in patronage and passenger vehicle kilometre data over the last decade.

The industry currently employs more than 85,000 Australians with an estimated 60,000 in this workforce undertaking the daily task of safely transporting scores of workers and students each day. However, there is now a major driver shortage in the bus industry. The long-distance coach tourism and charter sectors suffered badly with international and domestic borders closed. The coach and charter sector is now seeing a return to business as domestic tourism and school excursions restart in earnest. However much of the coach fleet (as with the airlines) was “parked” over the last 18-plus months and with no work for the coach, there was no work for the driver. Many drivers have retired, swapped a bus for a truck or moved onto other commercial driving work and are not returning to bus work. 

The majority of the coach and charter sector is run by small businesses and the BIC calls on the federal government to support the sector by reviewing some of the current employment laws, such as the relaxation of pension rules for people to earn more without penalty. State and territory governments could also incentivize youth employment and career pathways by lowering the age eligibility for driving passengers in a public transport vehicle and by reintroducing subsidised training and certification programs.

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