Falkirk bus drivers reveal abuse from passengers as firm battles major staff shortages
A bus depot hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – which led to the death of three employees in the space of a month earlier this year – is now dealing with staffing issues which have forced it to adjust bus services.
Two First Bus drivers, who both worked at the firm’s Larbert depot, in Stirling Road, died within a fortnight of each other in February and a third passed away in March.
Now First Bus has admitted the depot is under pressure due to staff shortages and other factors.
Workers have been in touch with The Falkirk Herald stating they are having to work rest days or work on their annual leave days and shift patterns have been impacted.
They claim drivers are leaving the company because of the situation, which in turn has resulted in driver shortages and services being cut.
They also highlighted they had experienced physical and verbal abuse from passengers due to services not turning up because of the driver shortage.
Duncan Cameron, interim managing director for First Bus in Scotland, said: “We are unfortunately experiencing an unprecedented perfect storm of COVID-19-related issues.
"These include increased track and trace isolation cases, coupled with issues around DVLA delays in releasing provisional PCV licences to new candidates and an overall industry-wide driver shortage.
“In response to shortages we have adapted our network in a way that minimises disruption to our customers, while maintaining the integrity of the network and easing the pressures of the shortage on our staff.
“Our local team in Larbert are no different and are facing similar challenges. As a result, there will be occasions when staff are asked to cover overtime, but this is an optional request and not a demand.
"We are dealing with unprecedented new competition for PCV licence holders across the industry and more widely from the logistics and haulage sectors.
“As a business, we are currently reviewing our recruitment and staff retention processes in order to address these concerns.
"Following a serious outbreak at Larbert depot earlier in the pandemic, we have left no stone unturned in terms of COVID-19 safety measures for our colleagues and our customers.”