Huntingdonshire coach firm warns of looming crisis as driver shortage begins to take toll

Simon Dew, managing director of Dews Coaches.

Simon Dew, managing director of Dews Coaches. - Credit: Archant

A bus firm boss has warned that a national shortage of drivers could lead to a crisis in the school bus service, especially in a rural area like Huntingdonshire.

The shortage has prompted Somersham firm Dews Coaches to launch its own recruitment campaign in a bid to tackle the problem.

The firm had one of its coaches out at Huntingdon market last Saturday (October 28), offering visitors the chance to find out more about the job.

Managing director Simon Dew said: “My belief is that unless something is done they will have to look at other ways of getting children to school.

“I don’t think it will happen this year or next year but that it will happen in the not too distant future.”

Mr Dew said bus operators reported a shortage of Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) licence holders across the country, making it hard to recruit staff, especially in areas of high employment.

“Any competent driver of a car can drive a bus or a coach, they are not difficult to drive,” he said.

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He said drivers to be based at their Somersham site, would be put through the firm’s training programme.

Mr Dew said the firm was especially keen to find staff for the morning and evening school runs, lasting four hours a day during term time, who would be paid for the full 52 weeks a year.

He said the jobs had proved attractive to family members who did not want to work in the school holidays, as did the year-round pay.

“We were the first and only people in the area to offer pay for 52 weeks for years, although I believe someone else does it now,” Mr Dew said.

The firm has expanded its fleet from 12 to 43 vehicles in recent years as it diversifies into a wider range of bus-related areas and has also provided official transport for the Olympics and Rugby World Cup.

Mr Dew said bus driving could also be attractive for young people as there were good opportunities to build a career in the industry and could include foreign travel.

He said potential drivers, who would have to complete a CRB check, could contact the firm on 01487 740241 or visit the Dews Coaches website to find out more.