Midlothian MSP calls for help to find more bus drivers

Borders Buses stock photo.Borders Buses stock photo.
Borders Buses stock photo.
Local MSP Christine Grahame has called on the UK Government to add bus drivers to the shortage occupation list, to make it easier for them to come to the UK from abroad.

Borders Buses in particular has been having huge difficulties in staffing its routes, despite a recruitment drive, which has been aggravated by the impact of increased Covid cases and self-isolation.

Ms Grahame (SNP) said: “I know how frustrating it is for my constituents to find their bus journey cancelled, this has real consequences for many. However having spoken to Borders Buses it’s clear they are doing all they can.

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“The fact is there are qualified, experienced drivers in other countries who are keen to return to Scotland to resume their employment but can’t because of the UK Government’s immigration policies. This is a very tangible example of the impact Brexit is having.

“I have written to the Scottish Government to ask what additional pressure it can apply to bring this to the fore.”

Sharon Morrison, communications director at West Coast Motors (the owner of Borders Buses) said: “We thank Christine for her ongoing support throughout this pandemic and would echo her request to the UK Government to add bus drivers to the shortage occupation list.

“Until this industry crisis is addressed, we expect recruitment to remain a major issue in our service delivery and potentially limit our hopes to increase bus journeys to meet not only the requirements of current customers but the new demand for those under the age of 22 now eligible for free bus travel.”