Speak to your fellow operators and it’s inevitable that discussion will, sooner or later, turn to the subject of drivers.
Can you find them? How do you find them? What do you pay them? And most important of all, how do you keep them?
Large bus operators have long recruited staff without Category D driving licences and trained them at a cost to the business. Smaller coach and bus companies have not. Until recently.
routeone has spoken to a pair of coach operators in the last week who have accepted that the best way to recruit the kind of driver they require, is to follow the same route as the big bus companies.
It also ensures that bad habits from elsewhere are not transmitted to their businesses.
It is refreshing to hear that Parrys International Director Dave Parry’s son James will follow three of his fellow employees and get behind the wheel of a top-of-the-range coach, having joined the business able to pilot nothing larger than a car. “It’s the future of the industry,” says Mr Parry.
At the same time, at a small coach operator not many miles away from Parrys’ Staffordshire base, two individuals have been trained to drive at the company’s expense. This, again, was born of a realisation that the only way to get the staff you want is to train them yourself.
Will we see more of this in the future? It’s quite likely. It represents a solid investment in the future of your business.