It was great to see so many of you in attendance at Buses Festival this year. The feedback I’ve seen suggests that the venue change went down very well with attendees, and I am glad to say the festival will be held at the East of England Showground in Peterborough once again next year on Sunday, August 7. To celebrate the event, you’ll find six pages devoted to it in this magazine, starting on page 32. Congratulations to all this year’s award winners, and I hope those of you who attended enjoyed catching up with friends and colleagues who there have been few opportunities to meet since early 2020.
Onto events elsewhere in the bus industry –I am increasingly hearing reports of bus operators struggling with a shortage of drivers. It’s a problem which has recurred many times over the years but is particularly potent now as the UK moves away from pandemic restrictions.
The current staff shortages are not unique to the bus industry. An article on the BBC News website at the end of June claimed that the furlough scheme has had the sideeffect of slowing down the labour market. It claimed significantly fewer people are looking to move from industries in decline to industries experiencing growth, as would normally occur. They are instead playing it safe and staying where they are. It also claimed that a combination of the pandemic and Brexit meant many European workers returned home to be with their families and are not coming back in large numbers.