Bassetlaw council chief wades into Stagecoach row in ongoing Worksop bus delays due to industrial action and driver shortages
Council leader Simon Greaves has written a letter to Stagecoach and Nottinghamshire County Council to urge them to resolve the ongoing service cancellations ‘as quickly as possible’.
Stagecoach has been experiencing a national ‘staff shortage’ which has led to many services cancelled, with more than a dozen services in and around Worksop cancelled on a daily basis.
Stagecoach bus drivers are also taking industrial action which involves them not working overtime as part of a national campaign to increase their pay, which currently stands at ‘just over minimum wage’, say union leaders.
In the letter, Coun Greaves said: “If driver terms and conditions and pay have not kept up with changes in the market then quite simply changes will need to be made.
“I hope that Nottinghamshire County Council will do everything possible to ensure increased driver training capacity and do everything possible to ensure that alternate bus provision is made available and press government for additional funding to resolve the current crisis.
“These ongoing problems are causing great concern and anxiety to local people who rely on these much-needed services.
“I am surprised and disappointed that Nottinghamshire County Council has done nothing to alert local residents of local cancellations. I urge you to do more to notify people of changes of service through the communication channels that you have.
“If these issues are not to be resolved for months then please make people aware.
“Can you please clarify if any services are to be axed due to the current crisis, and if so what steps have been taken to mitigate the problem.”
In response to the letter, Coun Neil Clarke MBE, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Transport and Environment Committee, said: “The solution to the current bus service issues in Bassetlaw is for the county and district councils to work together constructively with local bus operators.
“By working together, our councils will save taxpayers’ money and demonstrate to Government why it should devolve more powers and resources to Nottinghamshire, which will help us to improve public transport and many other services.
“The county council works closely with all bus operators, including Stagecoach East Midlands, to place bus services at the heart of the community and more recently, the Covid-19 recovery.
“We are continuing to monitor bus service levels and will be working with Stagecoach to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
“Our staff are on hand at our bus stations to support passengers impacted by cancellations and we’ll continue to keep passengers up to date with the latest information on service cancellations using our extensive digital estate.”
Stagecoach declined to comment on the letter but in a previous statement stated they are recruiting for a number of roles to help deliver their services to customers.
They said: “We are committed to serving communities with reliable bus travel and despite driver shortages we are continuing to operate the vast majority of our services as normal.
“Where we do have to cancel a bus, we are providing live updates to our customers through our social media channels.”
Stagecoach customers can download the Stagecoach app, check the Stagecoach twitter feed or contact Stagecoach on 0345 6050 605 for updates on services.