A BUS company boss says his firm has almost 100 trainee drivers waiting more than three times longer than usual for licences and test dates.

Alex Hornby, CEO of Transdev, says bus services throughout the country continue to be affected by driver shortages.

Mr Hornby said so far, a relatively small number of journeys provided by Transdev across Yorkshire have had to be cancelled – but the bus firm says it fully realises the inconvenience caused and is thanking its customers for their patience, while it pulls out the stops to resolve a situation which the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says has led to a shortage of more than 4,000 drivers nationwide.

The bus firm says prospective drivers at its training facility, The Academy, are currently waiting over three times longer than usual to get their licences and test dates confirmed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) – leading to delays in moving them forward from the classroom to the road.

Mr Hornby said: “We’re grateful to our colleagues and our customers for their patience with us – we understand entirely how frustrating it is when journeys are cancelled, and it’s the last thing we want to do – especially at a time when we’re attracting more people back to buses.

“We’re using social media and our Transdev Go mobile app, which tracks all our buses in real time, to keep customers informed – and we’re running a high-profile recruitment campaign highlighting the many benefits we offer to new drivers, including a £1,000 welcome bonus to those already holding a licence.

“Right now, we have 95 new colleagues at The Academy. They just want to complete their training and be out on the road serving our customers – but instead, they’re waiting over three times longer than usual to get licences and test dates confirmed from the DVSA. Now is the time our industry needs help to resolve these delays, so we can deliver services confidently and get people back on board. Most of our buse s are running as normal and we are attracting new drivers, so the current delays to licensing and testing are very frustrating.

“At an industry-wide level, we’re asking the Government to speed up the provisional licence applications and free up availability of theory and practical tests. We are also keen to introduce our own delegated examiner to help process testing, but DVSA training needed to help us introduce these roles remains suspended. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to do all we can and continue our campaign to recruit more new drivers.”