Extra bus money won’t solve driver crisis

Metro Mayor Dan Norris has cautiously welcomed a government u-turn that will provide additional funding for buses but warned that there will still have to be cuts in October due to the bus driver shortage.

The eleventh-hour change of direction by the Government will see Covid emergency funding extended for a further six months which bus companies can use to run services when money from fares does not cover running costs.

But the Metro Mayor cautioned that local people will still see cherished bus routes axed from October as there are not enough bus drivers to drive all of the current routes. He is reviewing the situation with First this weekend.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris says: “I should warn people that even with this new cash, which of course I welcome, it doesn’t necessarily follow that cuts won’t happen. The huge, huge problem is and remains that there are just not enough bus drivers to drive the buses, and that will continue to be the case even with more funding. We are on to that, with campaigns to recruit drivers and then train them up, but it’s not a short-term solution. I need to level with people that we still face tough choices ahead. My first action was to ask the Government if they could divert some of this cash to driving training”.