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Privately owned bus companies have been nervous ever since the Government started talking about devolution in the north of England. That nervousness is now more pronounced after hearing some additional details contained in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement delivered last week. One bus company has gone so far as to suggest that devolution will result in the immediate confiscation of private assets and the elimination of routes. If true, such actions would likely harm bus driver training and employment in some areas.

As things currently stand, local municipalities have very little influence over private bus services. Private operators are regulated almost exclusively by Whitehall, which, since the 1990s, has taken a de-regulation approach that has allowed companies such as Stagecoach to flourish. Yet Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths is very concerned about devolution plans.

He told the BBC: “If the chancellor’s observations are taken at face value … you’d effectively see the confiscation of some assets overnight.”

The Government plans include allowing some of the North’s city regions greater control over their own finances, including regulatory power over local bus routes. Such authority would enable them to increase the potential earning power of municipally owned bus services at the expense of private companies such as Stagecoach. Critics can easily envision some city mayors regulating private bus routes out of existence in order to gain riders for municipal buses.

Proponents of the plan say it is necessary in order to make municipal bus services more competitive. They say city regions have a social responsibility to make sure municipally run buses continue to operate. Critics of the plan believe devolution will only return the affected city regions to the days before deregulation.

Industry Impact

So how does devolution affect bus driver training and employment? It comes down to simple economics. At the current time, private bus companies are doing very well all across the UK. However, if Griffith’s concerns turn out to be accurate, companies such as Stagecoach could very quickly find themselves in financial straits. That might mean fewer employment opportunities for bus drivers in the North. By the same token, it is possible some individuals would be less likely to pay for bus driver training if they believe finding a job could be more difficult.

At this point, there is not much anyone can do except sit tight and wait on the Government’s final decision. While we wait, the HGV Training Centre will continue offering bus driver training to students who want it. Our training programmes prepare students for the PCV theory test, followed by the practical skills training students need to take and pass their final road tests. Our training includes the necessary components to fulfil CPC training requirements.

Have you been considering a career as a professional bus driver? It is a great career choice offering stable employment, good pay and the opportunity to work with people. If you are ready to get started, the HGV Training Centre can enrol you in our bus driver training programme today.

Sources:

BBC – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-30289913

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