There is a chronic shortage of bus drivers in parts of Australia, despite salaries rising to $100,000 a year.
Base salaries for bus drivers in New South Wales have risen to around $90,000 a year.
With time and other bonuses, drivers can earn $100,000 per year.
Drivers also receive perks like free travel on all public transportation, which can be worth up to $3,000 per year.
But despite the attractive offer for new employees, there is still a chronic shortage of drivers.
The lack of drivers has led to cancellations and angry passengers, reports the Daily Mail.
“New South Wales is facing an unprecedented shortage of bus drivers,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
Many drivers feel stressed by salary issues, strenuous working hours and some passengers’ fears for their safety.
Mandatory Driver Authority training covers topics such as “Dealing with Aggressive Passengers, Safe Driving, Needs of Passengers with Disabilities, Emergency Response, Fatigue Management, Accident Procedures, Rock Throwing, Defensive Driving and Fire Safety.”
In March last year, a Sydney bus driver was of Asian descent
insulted by a Covid denier after he asked the person to wear a mask.
A disturbing video of the incident showed the male passenger screaming at her.
The man yelled, “You’re not going to fucking push me. I dont do this! It’s over, Covid is a scam and I’m not fucking sick.”
He also told her to “go back to China.”
A shared shift begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m., with a five-hour break for lunch.
The unpopular shifts are necessary because more drivers are needed during peak hours, when most commuters travel.
One woman, Karyn, who has stopped driving for Keolis Downer on the Northern Beaches, said the changes don’t suit the lifestyle of people with young families – or those who want a social life.
Current New South Wales Transport Minister Jo Haylen, in office since March 2023, blamed the previous government for the driver shortage and several common complaints from bus drivers about their work.
She said: “We still face a significant shortage of bus drivers because of the previous Liberal government’s refusal to engage with the workforce.”
“They left the bus industry with substandard toilets and rest areas, a two-tier pay system and an unnecessary amount of bureaucracy that discouraged people from becoming bus drivers.”
“There are a significant number of drivers in training, but we will not be able to solve this problem overnight.”