August 09 2021

The DVSA is facing a backlog of testing following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. As a result coach and bus operators who do not have their own in-house testing facilities are finding themselves unable to hire drivers to keep up with the demand for services. Operators are beginning to report that due to a shortage of drivers, they are having to tell schools they are unable to run vital home-to-school services,

Following consultation with CPT members to find out the extent of the issue, last week CPT’s Operations Director Keith McNally write to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, warning him of the issues that will arise if vocational testing slots for coach and bus operators are not provided urgently. On 20 July the DVSA confirmed that they would prioritise vocational tests for HGV drivers, and in his letter Mr McNally called for coach and bus operators to get a fair share of this testing capacity. There is already a shortage of 3,000 drivers in the industry caused by a lack of testing availability and given the importance of buses and coaches in helping thousands of people make journeys, testing for bus and coach drivers must not be deprioritised. With pupils in England due to return to school next month, it is getting increasingly urgent that the driver shortage is addressed as soon as possible, with Mr McNally warning that the shortage is “placing increasing pressure on local authorities to find alternatives”.

Signing off his letter, Mr McNally reminds the Transport Secretary that the industry will continue to work collaboratively with the DVSA so overcome challenges facing the transport industry.

To read a copy of the letter sent from CPT to the Transport Secretary click here.