Insider Exclusive: The Driver Shortage: Operators Speak Out on Hot Industry Trends

Insider Exclusive: The Driver Shortage: Operators Speak Out on Hot Industry Trends

By ABA Media

The Insider recently posed the following industry question to several ABA member motorcoach operators: How has the driver shortage affected your business, and what steps have you taken to combat this problem?

Here is what our members had to say:

“The driver shortage has negatively impacted our business, but mainly during just the last six months or so. We have had to subcontract multiple pieces of work lately, simply because we didn’t have enough drivers. We are focusing our current efforts on more retention strategies centered around quality of life, but have implemented driver rate increases, higher safety incentives, uniform provisions, and spent more on marketing efforts to attract new drivers over the last few years.”
Chad Cushman, President
Indian Trails Inc.
Owosso, Mich.

“The driver shortage is causing many problems. There are not enough drivers to cover the charter work and additional cost in paying overtime. We have taken steps to combat the shortage by offering CDL and DPU training, and we will help them get their license.”
Tom Arrighi, President
A&A Metro Transportation
Bridgewater, Mass.

“Since mid-2014, we have not had as many driver applicants walk through our doors as we had experienced in the past. As a result, instead of selling all of our coaches (16), we looked at how many drivers it would take to do each trip. So, we sell the drivers instead of the motorcoaches.

We had to make sure we didn’t put ourselves in the hard place of not being able to do a trip for a customer. We don’t want to be caught in situations where we booked all of our coaches and now are scrambling to find another company to sublet to because of not calculating all of the relief drivers needed to handle the longer trips. This has created lost income and lost opportunities to generate more income. Like many companies, we have coaches parked due to the lack of drivers.

“To help find drivers, we continually have our drivers on the lookout for additional drivers who would meet our standards. We use job search websites such as ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Motor Coach Jobs, advertise in the newspaper, offer sign-on bonuses, and place signage stating, ‘Driving Positions Available.’”
Thomas Bazow, President
Excursions Trailways
Fort Wayne, Ind.

“The driver shortage has caused me to turn down lots of job opportunities. I gave the drivers a raise in pay and offer sign-on bonus to drivers who recommend other drivers who stay on for a year or more. But I’m still having the same problem.”
Sophia Parchment, Account Manager 
Brownin Transportation Inc.
Valley Stream, N.Y.

“We are losing sales for the simple fact that we do not have enough drivers. We basically sell for how many drivers we have available in a day, whereas we used to sell to vehicle capacity. We are in a constant hiring pattern. We are now including a sign-on bonus upon hire as well as raising driving wages.”
Jodi Merritt, Vice President
H & L Charter Co. Inc. 
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.

Contact

Melanie Hinton, Director of Communications & Media Relations, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
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