Driver shortage impacts school transport

Drivers wanted advert in a newspaper

The national shortage of HGV drivers has been well publicised and it’s also impacting on school transport. 

Kent, North Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Bridgend

The lack of bus drivers has disrupted many home-to-school routes for both mainstream students and those with special needs, who may need a taxi or specialist vehicle. 

Costs are going up

Some local authorities have told us their costs are increasing as operators charge double, and sometimes triple, compared to previous contracts.

When we calculate the savings QRoutes finds our customers, we estimate the cost of a contract at £20k, but we’ve heard stories of new contracts costing in the region of £70k.

The increase in fuel prices is also having an impact on budgets. 

Distress for children

Parents of children with special needs have been sharing stories on social media about the distress caused by the disruption and uncertainty. 

One mum said her autistic daughter relied on a routine and familiarity. She said the confusion at the beginning of the school year had caused upset at an already stressful time. 

“She’s had tears, meltdowns and mental health issues and it’s just not acceptable. Parents are fuming, we are very angry.”

Nationwide shortage

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) estimated there was a national shortage of 4,000 bus drivers and suggested areas hit the hardest were Scotland, the north east of England, Bristol and the South West. 

CPT said: “It is having an impact across the country. More bus drivers are quitting than we can recruit and talk of higher-paid jobs in road haulage is adding to the problem.

“Some have unquestionably been attracted to lorry driving by all this talk about wages increasing.”

Covid makes things worse

Bus operator First West of England said they were short of about 70 drivers in Bristol and Bath. And said the situation had been exacerbated by some existing drivers having to self-isolate or take time off sick after testing positive for Covid-19.

Efficient routes help

QRoutes route optimisation helps our customers find ways to deliver journeys which often need fewer vehicles than other solutions. With the shortage of drivers pushing costs up, this is more important than ever.

Get in touch today to explore how QRoutes can help you