Take the wheel! Bus driver recruitment drive kicks off
The NSW Government has today launched a bumper bus driver recruitment campaign to address the driver shortage – completing the final of four urgent recommendations designed to improve driver recruitment.
The Government has acted quickly to implement the Bus Industry Taskforce’s early recommendations to improve the reliability of the city's bus services.
In just over four weeks the NSW Government has:
- acted to slash red tape to make it cheaper and easier to get a Driver Authority
- held a Bus Industry Summit with more than 100 industry leaders
- commenced work with bus companies to make temporary adjustments to improve reliability of timetables.
NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen launched the new campaign this morning at the Ryde bus depot after meeting with trainee and experienced bus drivers.
Region 7, which includes Ryde and Lane Cove, is the worst impacted by the driver shortage, with 99 vacancies.
New bus drivers are being urged to jump on board in the most targeted bus driver recruitment campaign to date, focusing on areas hardest hit by the driver shortage, including:
- Ryde/Lane Cove, Region 7 – 99 vacancies
- Inner West, Region 6 – 89 vacancies
- Northern Beaches, Region 8 – 58 vacancies
- Eastern Suburbs, Region 9 – 36 vacancies
- North Shore, Region 14 – 33 vacancies
- South-West Sydney, Region 13 – 13 vacancies
- Hills District, Region 4 – 12 vacancies.
The campaign will run until September and aims to attract new drivers to the profession, filling the 370 vacant roles across the city.
Real bus drivers are at the heart of the campaign that will appear on websites, digital media, social media, and radio. The campaign will encourage job seekers to find jobs in their area.
The Government has already made it quicker, easier, and cheaper for drivers to get their bus driver authority by:
- waiving the $70 application fee for the next 12 months
- allowing drivers over the age of 25 to apply if they hold a current unrestricted Australian driver licence, and have held any kind of Australian driver licence, or a nationally recognised overseas driver licence, for at least three years
- enabling electronic issue of documents
- scrapping duplicated paperwork requirements and streamlining the application process.
Safety is at the core of bus driver training, with new recruits undertaking wide-ranging training covering safe driving techniques and emergency response.
Since January 2023 there has been an 87 per cent increase in Bus Driver Authorities issued with 130 new drivers hired, and this campaign will build on this strong momentum.
The campaign will be in conjunction with what bus operators are already doing to incentivise more people to the role, such as referral bonuses of up to $6,000 for experienced drivers and up to $5,000 for new drivers. There are also employee referral bonuses, as well as operators assisting with driver onboarding costs – such as the cost of Driver Authority training and licence upgrades.
Bus Passenger Forums will continue later this month in Newcastle after the first forum kicked off in the Northern Beaches as the Government puts passengers first in delivering better bus services for the state.
NSW Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said:
“We are seeing a solid increase in bus driver applications since the beginning of the year, and we need to ramp this up to deliver a better service for our communities.”
“We will be targeting areas that are experiencing the worst shortages like the Sydney’s northwest, Northern Beaches, Eastern Suburbs and the Inner West to get more people into the role.”
“This campaign is just one more step the Minns Labor Government is taking to be able to deliver reliable bus services across the State.”
“We are getting great feedback from industry and passengers through the Bus Industry Taskforce and Bus Passenger Forums that will shape recommendations for the Taskforce to present to the Government.”
“Bus driving is a noble profession, and integral to keeping Sydney moving. The bus drivers I've been chatting to love their jobs and are wonderful advocates for the profession.”
Busways driver John Davis said:
“Having a job as a bus driver keeps me healthy and focused – its more active than an office job and is hands on, which I enjoy. Every day is different, and it allows you have a sense of freedom and to be outside.”
“I love interacting with the locals every day. They remember you and you remember them. The passengers are really sweet. It makes you feel good that you can be of service to people and your community.”
“If you need a healthy change in lifestyle, I definitely suggest becoming a bus driver. If you like being of service to the community, then this is the career for you!”
Find out more about becoming a bus driver.