A shortage of drivers has forced certain bus service companies to make cuts to their Saturday night routes, leaving many passengers frustrated and struggling to find alternative transport.
Operators in several cities have been struggling with a shortage of drivers for several months. Despite efforts to recruit new staff and retain existing drivers, bus operators seem unable to meet the demand for drivers on Saturday nights, one of their busiest times.
Public transport passengers have been told to double check their bus service will operate on Saturday night, after transport officials were forced to drop routes due to a driver shortage.
A spokeswoman for Transport department said disruptions were expected to some services after 5pm on Easter Saturday. “We are currently experiencing disruptions to bus services due to driver availability,” Transport Canberra wrote on Facebook.
The decision is met with anger from many passengers who rely on the bus service to get to and from their weekend activities. Some have taken to social media to voice their frustration, with many pointing out that the cuts will disproportionately affect those who rely on public transport the most, such as low-income families and those without access to private vehicles.
Operators defended stating that there was no option but to reduce routes due to the driver shortage. Safety of passengers is their top priority and that they cannot operate with a shortage of drivers.
The driver shortage affecting the bus service company is not unique, with many companies also struggling to recruit and retain staff in a highly competitive labor market. Experts point to a range of factors contributing to the shortage, including low pay, long hours, and the difficult working conditions of the job.
For now, passengers who rely on the affected bus routes will have to make alternative plans for their Saturday night travel. Some have called on the government to intervene and provide funding to help bus companies increase pay and improve working conditions for drivers, in order to prevent further service cuts in the future.