Reacting to the announcement from First Bus of “temporary” journey cancellations on some of their buses due to the issue of bus driver shortages, Metro Mayor Dan Norris said:

“This news from First is disappointing. Under 20 of buses they run will now make fewer journeys, especially in off-peak time.

“I understand the dilemma that operators like First find themselves in. This is down to the severe bus driver shortage.

“I’ve always said when it comes to the buses, we need to make big choices – how do we deploy the limited numbers of bus drivers in the region?

“I know the frustration when the bus you are expecting doesn’t turn up. One choice when using the limited pool of drivers is fewer buses but more reliable ones. Most people I meet tend to pick reliability over regularity.

“But this does need to work as we’ve been here before – when First and other companies say they need to do X or Y which will mean more reliable services, but those more reliable services not materialising. I genuinely hope these changes today sort this reliability issue through to April.

“There is no short-term fix on drivers but I have invested in a big recruitment and training exercise to encourage people to drive buses. I know how important buses are to local people so please do consider a career change and be a real community hero.”

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