Hauts-de-France: The shortage of coach drivers risks disrupting transport at the start of the school year

Hauts-de-France: The shortage of coach drivers risks disrupting transport at the start of the school year

Coaches that remain at the depot for lack of drivers. This is the disaster scenario that travelers are about to experience, and in particular the 210,000 students from Hauts-de-France who use school and intercity transport on a daily basis. The region, responsible for transport competence, has just sounded the alarm and is looking for solutions because it is the entire transport sector that is currently under strain.

“Professionals are struggling to recruit coach drivers and mechanics, explains the Hauts-de-France region, in a press release. These are difficulties at the national level, but the region is not spared since 400 drivers and 20 mechanics are missing for the start of the school year. »

Low pay, complex schedules…

A month to turn around is a short time. So the region prefers prevention to cure. “A follow-up of the missing driving and maintenance staff has been requested from the carriers, but also a precise state of the line-by-line offer that they are able to provide from the start of the school year”, assures the region. The objective is “to alert travelers and in particular the parents of students sufficiently in advance so that they can organize themselves”.

In the more or less long term, it is obviously a question of alleviating this shortage. But the situation is gloomy. “The difficulties of recruitment are greater and greater due to an increasingly weak attractiveness”, notes the region. And the reasons are legion: low pay, complex schedules, user requirements or a feeling of insecurity.

Will the promotional campaign, which will soon be launched, be enough to create vocations in these professions? Fourteen regional training centers prepare, for example, for the profession of coach driver. “Two training courses financed by us allow access to this profession”, specifies the region. In 2021, 499 people entered training and 238 in 2022, to date. Not yet enough to compensate for the failing workforce.

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