Keeping on course

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Head of bus operations at Ilévia’s Sequedin depot Dieu Merci Yalala (left) and colleague Mohamed Ziane with TottUp’s Sales Manager Loredane Costa. JONATHAN WELCH

Jonathan Welch finds out about a new training aid designed to improve driver confidence and service reliability

Driver recruitment, training and retention are all topics which are at the forefront of industry minds just now, although they are never far from the minds of operators. The range of skills needed varies from coach to bus, but one thing is common: drivers need to know where they are going, whether that be on a regular route, an unfamiliar diversion, rail replacement or a continental tour. Whilst the latter might require some more in-depth planning, a lot of what most bus operators – and many coach operators – do revolves around fixed routes.

As someone who has over a decade of experience driving city services, including just about every variation and planned or unplanned diversion imaginable, and in a city I’d grown to know well, it’d be quite easy to forget how daunting a route can be for a new driver. Even with the benefit of a few weeks of route training – and a conscientious new recruit would be making suitable notes to support their first solo trips – it can be a daunting experience to have a bus full of passengers relying on you, trusting you to get them where they need to go, safely and on time. It can only take a few moments of ‘wait, is this the route that goes left or the one that goes right at this junction?’ to lead a driver into an unfortunate situation.


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