Numerous bus services have been cancelled lately and further disruption is likely as the operator, CT Plus, faces staff shortages made worse by the covid-19 pandemic.
Recruiting and retaining bus drivers has been a consistent problem for the past couple of years. But short-term sickness has added to the problem and in recent days there have been insufficient drivers to cover all routes.
CT Plus said it was sorry to have to cancel services and also said that only the commitment of its staff had prevented disruption previously.
"The last two years have seen a shortage of staff at CT Plus," said the company.
"It is testament to the efforts of all the staff at CT Plus that this has not directly affected services until now. We thank the staff for their continued efforts and professionalism throughout this challenging time.
"The shortage of staff has been exacerbated by a recent combination of short-term illness and covid-related sickness. This has meant unfortunately some services have been disrupted over the last few days. It is likely that this disruption will continue for a little time yet."
Cancellations have already affected various services, including busy routes such as route 11 between Town and the north of the island via the Bridge and route 92 which goes around the island.
CT Plus is advising passengers to call 700456 or visit the company's Facebook page or click on its website HERE for details of which services are not running as normal.
Above: CT Plus is using social media to update passengers on bus services disrupted by staff shortages.
CT Plus is hoping that changes will be made to rules relating to driving public service vehicles.
One suggestion is that the island's minimum age for driving a bus could be reduced to make it the same as it is in the UK, from where CT Plus recruits a large number of its drivers.
As it is now more difficult to recruit from overseas, CT Plus is also hoping to find additional drivers locally, including through engagement with the Latvian-speaking community.
"The landscape for recruitment is very different from previous times with the pool of potential drivers now unfortunately far more limited," said CT Plus.
"CT Plus is actively working with the States on the methods for ensuring the continuing influx of recruitment from the UK, beyond the UK and also locally, including a suggestion to bring Guernsey’s minimum driving licence age requirements for bus drivers into line with the UK as this could help more residents to join the driving school which continues to train drivers and provide jobs here on island."
Pictured: CT Plus is advertising for bus drivers on its website HERE.
An ongoing recruitment campaign is advertising wages starting at just under £10 an hour while training with rates of almost £17 an hour for working evenings, Sundays and Bank Holidays. The advert is also available in Latvian on the CT Plus website.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a bus driver is asked to call the driving school on 719238. Training is provided free of charge.
In the meantime, CT Plus is reiterating its apologies to customers and thanking them for their patience during this period of disruption.
"Please accept our apologies for the disruption to some services and please understand that we are doing all we can to return to a full service again," said the company.
"Once again, praise must be given to the staff who have gone above and beyond, filling in the gaps over the last two years, making the disruption to services only surface at this current time."
Pictured top: Guernsey's bus services have been affected by ongoing driver shortages made worse recently by an increase in staff sickness.
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