The American Bus Association Foundation – the research arm of the motorcoach, group travel and tourism industry – recently conducted a survey to estimate the driver shortage gap in the private motorcoach industry. The results show a large gap – 21.4 percent – between the need for drivers to help the industry recover and the number of drivers employed.
“As the industry continues to climb its way back from the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked, the lack of drivers to help make trips happen is a major setback,” said Peter Pantuso, president of the ABA Foundation. “People want to travel again. Our members want to take them on trips and yet so many buses are sitting idle in the yards because companies don’t have enough drivers to fulfill the travel needs.”
According to the survey, the shortage of qualified motorcoach drivers is not only sizable, but it is the result of a number of factors, many of which are out of the hands of operators. Based on the survey, weighted by the need for drivers, 47.4 percent of respondents suggested that the major reasons for the shortfall were attributed to availability of training, delays in licensing, insurance issues, fears surrounding COVID-19 and the general labor force shortage.
There are things that companies can do to attract more drivers. About 36.5 percent of respondents specifically stated that things like low wages, work schedules, and competition from trucking companies and other operators were the main causes of the shortfall.
“Companies will have to recognize that it will take a multi-factor approach to attract new drivers into the industry,” Pantuso said. “ABA’s Women in Buses Council created Driving Force to help operators tackle this issue by providing tips and tools to recruit and retain our most valuable asset: drivers. Companies will have to raise wages and create more rewarding working environments to alleviate this issue.”
About the ABA Foundation
The American Bus Association Foundation (ABAF) is the scholarship and research arm of the motorcoach, tour and travel industry. The largest non-profit in motorcoach group travel, the ABAF distributes $100,000 a year in scholarships to industry families and invests in research to demonstrate the important role motorcoach transportation plays in society. https://www.buses.org/aba-foundation