Mayor unveils retention scheme for London’s bus drivers

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The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced plans under which around 20,000 London bus drivers would receive a retention payment of up to £1,600 as part of plans to ensure the capital’s transport network continues to be served by a skilled and highly dedicated workforce.

Operators in London have reported that retention of bus drivers is becoming increasingly challenging – figures show bus drivers in the capital are most likely to leave their job in their first two years in the profession, with some of London’s largest operators reporting a 30 per cent average staff turnover within this timeframe*. Bus companies in the capital have also said that Brexit and the weak pound are making it more difficult to recruit new drivers from abroad.

The Mayor, whose dad was a bus driver, is taking decisive action to ensure that drivers are incentivised to remain in the industry and the profession continues to be attractive to new talent.

Under the plans announced today, bus drivers will receive a payment of £1,000 after completing two years of service and will be eligible for a further £600 after their third year.  Drivers who have already completed three years’ service when the scheme comes into effect will be entitled to £1,600 in a single payment. In the long term, improved retention will mean less money will need to be spent by bus operators on recruiting and training new staff.

The Mayor announced the proposed scheme during a visit to meet bus drivers in Brixton. This is Sadiq’s fourth major initiative to provide bus drivers with a fairer deal, which was a key Mayoral commitment.  It builds on the introduction of the minimum professional London bus driver’s wage, the ‘Licence for London’ scheme which allows drivers to move to a new company at a pay grade equivalent to their level of service and experience, and new measures to improve road safety following world-leading research on bus driver fatigue, commissioned by TfL.

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “As Londoners will know, I’m proud that my dad worked as a bus driver when I was growing up on a council estate in south London. So I know first-hand how hard they work to keep London moving all day and through the night.

“I’m really proud to launch this new reward and retention initiative which, along with my minimum professional London bus driver’s wage and ‘Licence for London’ schemes, will help us to retain more experienced bus drivers and deliver a better service for passengers and drivers alike.”

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