Government proposes lowering age limit for bus and coach drivers - CILT(UK)
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Government proposes lowering age limit for bus and coach drivers

12 April 2024/Categories: Industry News, Active Travel & Travel Planning, Bus & Coach, Freight Forwarding, Logistics & Supply Chain

Roads Minister Guy Opperman has launched a consultation on proposals that could open up hundreds of jobs in the bus and coach sectors to younger people.

The measures aim to help deliver more reliable bus services and a more resilient supply chain as part of plans to grow the economy.

Currently, those aged 18 to 20 can only drive bus and coach routes up to 50km, despite being allowed to drive articulated lorries with no distance limit.  

New proposals seek to remove this restriction, enabling fully trained 18 to 20-year-olds to operate longer bus and coach journeys, such as from London to Manchester or scenic routes across Yorkshire.

CILT member Declan Pang, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Road Haulage Association (RHA), 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.”

By increasing the pool of qualified bus and coach drivers, operators could potentially run more services, especially in rural areas where routes tend to be longer.

Additionally, the proposals suggest allowing prospective bus, coach and HGV drivers to begin theory and off-road training immediately, rather than waiting for their provisional licence.

This would enable trainees to complete their qualifications and enter the workforce more quickly, while still meeting all existing training requirements to ensure road safety standards are maintained.

The measures come as industry data estimates a 6.6% shortage of bus drivers and a 13.6% shortage of coach drivers nationally.

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.”

By attracting younger talent to transport careers, the proposals aim to tackle these shortages and improve service reliability, ultimately supporting economic growth.

Organisations like the Confederation of Passenger Transport and the Road Haulage Association have welcomed the proposals, citing the potential to address workforce challenges and remove barriers for recruiting young people into the sectors.


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