Business

Plymouth Citybus launches recruitment drive after staff shortage hits routes

A Plymouth bus company has begun a major recruitment campaign after having to temporarily suspend routes due to the driver shortage which is gripping the nation.

Plymouth Citybus, part of the Go-Ahead Group, is offering full-time positions with all training provided and a host of benefits to lure candidates. It said anyone aged 19 or over and who has held a driving licence for at least a year is able to apply.

In September 2021, the company was forced to temporarily suspend more than 100 routes due to a shortage of drivers. This was partly due to staff availability because of a high level of staff sickness which has been a problem for many transport operators.

More on the South West staff shortage crisis

But nationally there is a bus driver dearth with a reported 4,000 bus drivers quitting their jobs to become HGV drivers – and earn more cash. It has led to routes being cancelled in Scotland, the North East and the South West, including Plymouth.

Plymouth Citybus, which is now part of Go South West alongside Go Cornwall Bus, is seeking new workers by offering £12.25 an hour for a minimum 40-hour week contract.

The company is also offering a range of benefits including: free training; free bus travel for the employee and one nominated person, plus any dependents under 19 years old; a healthcare plan; staff discounts at a range of retailers.

Alan Griffin decided to become a bus driver in Plymouth after retiring from the police. With a good knowledge of the area and lots of experience in talking to the public, he said it was the perfect fit.

He said: “Every day, every hour is different. You get to see parts of the city that you wouldn’t normally see at times you wouldn’t normally see them.

“And anyone can get on the bus at any time – you’ve got about three seconds to assess where to pitch your conversation. If you’re picking passengers up at Derriford Hospital, for example, you have no idea what was happening to them 20 minutes ago, they could have had terrible news or something really good could have happened.

“It’s a customer service job, really – I didn’t want to be stuck at a desk looking at the same four walls, and this gives me what I need.”

Plymouth Citybus have recently been awarded Investors in People, Platinum and the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – both accolades handed to outstanding businesses – and the Employer of the Year at the Plymouth Armed Forces Awards due to its ongoing work to help those leaving the Armed Forces into civilian employment.

With its own driver training school, Plymouth Citybus said it can give drivers the skills they need to get their Passenger Carrying Vehicle Licence (PCV), as well as the route knowledge and customer service skills to get new employees on the road, all from their Milehouse Bus Depot.

Business Live’s South West Business Reporter is William Telford. William has more than a decade’s experience reporting on the business scene in Plymouth and the South West. He is based in Plymouth but covers the entire region.

To contact William: Email: [email protected] – Phone: 01752 293116 – Mob: 07584 594052 – Twitter: @WTelfordHerald – LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com – Facebook: www.facebook.com/william.telford.5473

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Mr Griffin said: “Just speak to them – the people who work for Plymouth Citybus are good people. Everyone is supportive, not just the managers, everyone is happy to talk. Speak to the training team, come to a recruitment day, everything is there to give you the tools you need to do the job.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a driver can contact Sophie on [email protected], by calling 01752 264299 or through visiting www.plymouthbus.co.uk.

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