Will there be enough school buses at the start of the school year to bring all the pupils in France to school? This is the question that may arise in September. 8,000 drivers are missing throughout the territory: this is the case in Hauts-de-France, where at least 400 drivers are missing.
>> Shortage of school buses: some carriers “already know that they will not be able to provide service at the start of the school year”, warns the National Federation of Passenger Transport
Of the hundred drivers from the Delgrange company based in the North, more than twenty have left since the Covid-19: “Some left in the transport of goods, others took the opportunity to completely change jobs”, explains Mathilde Vincent, the company’s human resources manager. Today, it still lacks five drivers to ensure the start of the school year. There are many departures, because the profession no longer attracts. The main problem remains the cuts during the day.
“Someone who does school transport will start their day at 6:30 a.m. and end it around 9:30 a.m. He will go home, to resume around 3:30 p.m. and end around 7 p.m.Matilda Vincent
Part-time, on average 24 hours of work per week, with a salary of 11.15 euros per hour. “You can’t live peacefully with such a low salary”says Mathilde Vincent.
Since the notice to resign is only two weeks for drivers, the companies expect possible additional departures in September. So to ensure school activity, some SMEs confide in putting aside their tourist activity, others try to convince young people. “In particular, we have recruited beginners who are compliantdevelops Mathilde Vincent. We also tried to improve our working conditions, our pay conditions. We have to make the job attractive: there is the part in the company where we have a hand, but work has to be done at the national level.
In Hauts-de-France, 210,000 children are transported every day. For the start of the school year, some could find themselves without a solution, warns Franck Dhersin, the vice-president of transport for the region. “We are afraid of running out of about 10% of drivers, so on some lines, it is not impossible that there will be shortcomings at the start of the school year”he says.
“It is also a job that we must do with the principals of middle schools and high schools, so that there are no students going out too far apart in the afternoon, because we cannot multiply races.”Franck Dhersin, vice-president of transport for the Hauts-de-France region
One week before the start of the school year, a very precise review of the workforce will be carried out with professionals in the sector. By then, the region is investing more than 3 million euros to train new drivers, but it takes time, and it is also calling for state support. “For now, we’re not getting anything concrete, just ‘yes we understand you, yes we’re going to do something’asserts Franck Dhersin. But concretely, there is no measure in terms of public transport that has been taken by the government.
For its part, the Ministry of Transport ensures that it remains mobilized on this issue.
Shortage of school buses: in the North, 400 drivers are missing for the start of the school year – A report by Benjamin Recouvreur