Staffing issues hit bus services

Thursday 21st April 2022 10:33 am

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A number of Isle of Man Transport bus services have been impacted by ‘ongoing staff shortages’ in recent days and weeks.

On Tuesday a total of 10 services were cancelled, affecting routes to Peel, Port Erin and Noble’s Hospital.

In a statement, Isle of Man Transport said: ‘We have a few contributing factors to our staff shortage which are due to a high level of staff sickness within the holiday period.

‘The team are working hard to find cover and we expect things to calm down over the next 24 hours.

‘Thank you for your patience and we apologise for any inconvenience we may have caused our customers.’

Work-life balance

Debbie Halsall, a representative from the trade union Unite, told Manx Radio that the statement from the transport department was ‘not all factual’.

She said that current work rotas for bus drivers covering this period are causing a lack of work-life balance.

Ms Halsall said: ‘Obviously alterations to duties and the expected duties could run from 10-11 hours of driving.

‘The work-life balance is impacted in that.’

She added: ‘You can have as many nice vehicles as you want but whilst they have no staff behind them, what does that do?

‘All we try is for easy resolution and to move forward in that mutual respect that the driver’s voice is being heard, which seems to fall flat at times.’

We asked the department for a response.

They said: ‘Whilst there are staff shortages we are asking drivers to work extra hours to cover the spaces on a voluntary basis, with all hours/shifts worked still subject to the protective measures within Driver Agreements – including a maximum number of driving hours and set breaks.

‘In addition to the staff sickness we also have some ongoing recruitment which equates to around seven (full-time equivalent) positions.

‘During this ‘pinch point’ we remain confident that we are able to maintain our services as much as possible and thank our bus drivers and supporting team for their hard work and flexibly.’