A campaign is being launched to recruit 1,000 new bus drivers across West Yorkshire – as some bus firms offer a £1,000 ‘welcome bonus’ to new drivers.

Slaithwaite-based Mayor of West Yorkshire and committed bus user Tracy Brabin has got on board with the county’s bus companies to drive a recruitment campaign.

Under the West Yorkshire Bus Alliance, which includes First Bus, Transdev and Arriva, it is the first time bus operators have joined forces in a bid to hire new drivers.

A new, dedicated bus driving jobs website has been set up by the bus companies and will be live from Monday February 28 at www.westyorkshirebusjobs.com 

Ms Brabin said: “Buses are an important part of the transport mix in West Yorkshire. We’ve seen the effect Covid has had on our bus services, with some services reduced because there haven’t been enough drivers available to run them, or being cut because people aren’t travelling at the moment.

READ MORE: How bus companies have offered a £1,000 bonus for new drivers

“But it’s important that we have drivers trained and in place so that as patronage rises operators can run higher frequencies, to get our services back to where they were.

“That’s why I’m working with our local operators to recruit more drivers, so we can create a diverse, skilled workforce reflecting the needs of our region.

“And I want to see Government supporting our desire to help people get back to their workplaces, or to see family and friends, by helping the bus operators financially through this challenging time.”

Mayor Tracy Brabin at the campaign launch

It is estimated that a further 1,000 bus and coach drivers will be needed in the future to fully develop and deliver the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for West Yorkshire, which will be introduced this spring.

A spokesman for the Bus Alliance said: “We want to encourage people to consider a job as a bus driver and the career pathway this can provide into other roles in our businesses.

“Buses and coaches are a vital form of transport and many people rely on them to make their day-to-day journeys as well as for longer trips.

“We are seeing a gradual rise in diversity with people from wider backgrounds and with transferable skills joining our workforces and we want this to continue.

“All operators in the alliance are looking to build back driver resource in tandem with growing passenger numbers to pre-pandemic levels.”