Friday, March 31, 2023

Driver shortage hits home as Brisbane, Gold Coast buses cancelled

Driver shortage hits home as Brisbane, Gold Coast buses cancelled

“But we got 178 actual bus service cancellations on Friday. Now that should not be happening.”

Rail, Tram and Bus Union secretary Tom Brown mentioned Dow’s observations have been “on the money”. He mentioned there was a scarcity of 200 to 300 bus drivers in south-east Queensland.

In 2022, the pandemic induced driver shortages, Dow mentioned, including the scenario had deteriorated since faculties returned in January.

He mentioned 138 bus providers have been disrupted on March 15.

“On Friday, when there were 205 services disrupted, the Gold Coast and Brisbane seemed particularly badly hit. It means that where the services are cancelled, those buses just don’t turn up.”

Translink’s Twitter feed exhibits a wide variety of providers being cancelled attributable to “staff availability”.

Brown mentioned Brisbane City Council, one of many state’s bigger employers of bus drivers, was concentrating on informal drivers and shedding employees to higher-paying non-public companies.

“Over the years, they have steadily casualised their workforce; they now have about 500 casuals on their books,” Brown mentioned.

Those informal drivers – one-fifth of council’s whole – additionally produce other driving jobs, Brown mentioned.

“How many of those 500 [casuals] are available on a daily basis would be anybody’s guess.”

‘Bus drivers: We want you’, says Brisbane City Council

  • Shifts will be scheduled 24/7 and drivers rostered for “split shifts”, with an extended break between two shifts on the identical day.
  • Temporary visa holders can work as “temporary” or “casual” drivers, supplied the work “complies with the conditions of your visa”.
  • Employees have to be obtainable to work any shift and to work affordable extra time.
  • Drivers are employed by Brisbane City Council underneath the Bus Transport Employees’ Award.
  • The Rail Tram and Bus Union estimates a council scarcity of 200 to 300 bus drivers.
  • The council is providing informal bus drivers $37.07 per hour “inclusive of 23 per cent casual loading”.

(Information from 2023 Brisbane City Council commercials for bus drivers)

Brown mentioned Brisbane wanted an additional 150 drivers for the brand new Brisbane Metro bus service.

The council is now recruiting everlasting and informal drivers, together with short-term visa holders from abroad.


The chair of council’s transport committee, Ryan Murphy, estimated about “1 per cent of its 11,000 daily bus services were disrupted each day”.

“In most cases, if a driver is absent on unscheduled leave, their service can be covered,” Murphy mentioned.

Council Opposition Leader Jared Cassidy mentioned recent physical attacks on bus drivers have been solely a part of the issue.

“Serious safety concerns, pay disparity, and very poor working conditions under [Lord Mayor] Adrian Schrinner, have changed Brisbane City Council from an employer of choice to a workplace to avoid,” he mentioned.

An trade supply mentioned Kinetic Transport – which runs buses on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, in Melbourne and New Zealand – recruited 80 additional drivers last month. Sunbus is also recruiting.

Translink mentioned bus driver shortages have been a nationwide drawback.

“Driver availability as a result of an Australia-wide labour shortage and above-average absenteeism from illness, including COVID-19, has resulted in impacts to some bus services across South East Queensland,” it mentioned.

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