According to the State Association of Bavarian Bus Companies (LBO), there is a lack of around 2,000 bus drivers across Bavaria. Since more and more drivers are retiring and there is a lack of young people, there is a risk of individual trips being canceled, bus routes being cut and timetables being thinned out, said LBO Managing Director Stephan Rabl in Munich. Because of Corona, even more bottlenecks threatened in winter.
The lack of drivers is having an impact on local public transport at both municipal and private companies. According to Rabl, bus trips for students have top priority and would be preferred where necessary. The companies were looking for new staff at full speed. Politicians must remove barriers to entry, for example include professional driver qualifications in driver training and thus reduce training costs.
Rabl expects only a short increase in passenger numbers from the planned 49-euro ticket. The ticket is particularly good in cities where public transport is well developed. In rural areas, many would prefer the car due to time constraints. He called on politicians to expand local transport in rural areas and secure financing before the 49-euro ticket was launched.
Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) said at the LBO annual conference on Wednesday: “We want to strengthen public transport in general and especially in rural areas.” Two thirds of the people in Bavaria live in rural areas. He described the nine-euro ticket that expired at the end of August as a “good try” – but it would have been better to use the money to expand the infrastructure: because it doesn’t help if the ticket is cheap but there are no buses.
According to the Federal Association of German Bus Companies, there is currently a shortage of more than 5,000 bus drivers nationwide. The planned turnaround in traffic will increase this shortage to around 76,000 by 2030. Buses that are used in rail replacement services are not included in this number.