Disruptions and driver shortages

263 Replies, 15558 Views

(19 Dec 2021, 5:27 pm)Keeiajs Wrote: That is a fair point, and I hope it is true. 
What routes from Nexus is GNE taking over for Boxing Day?


The 306 and 308 for Nexus, the 43, X10, X18 and X21 for Northumberland County Council.


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(19 Dec 2021, 5:30 pm)Dan Wrote: The 306 and 308 for Nexus, the 43, X10, X18 and X21 for Northumberland County Council.


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I'm quite surprised arriva decided to not run any this year
(19 Dec 2021, 11:34 am)busmanT Wrote: The average passenger won't know to scroll down!

Seems to happen regular at the weekends. Perhaps a knowledge gap with whoever is responsible for updating those lists over the weekend.

I agree though. Most will check the Saturday listing at the top only and think Sunday is not published yet.

(19 Dec 2021, 1:32 pm)54APhotography Wrote: Ultimately, no matter what we have all written here, this is not the fault of the bus companies, the situation with HGV pay rates is still taking those drivers who can away. The rate of new recruits is incapable of matching the usual loss plus this, and the DVLA have royally screwed up licences for the best part of three years now.

But those companies who can should as written here dedicate themselves to ensuring deckers are available to be switched in when mass cancellations take place and the impending crush on Christmas Eve. GNE obviously have a better ability to do this, but there are countless heavily stacked operators who have a good stock that could come out after 12 noon to make this Christmas Eve not go as many of us suspect...

It may not be solely the fault of bus companies, but they are a long-standing factor in the problem. 

If bus companies cannot retain and recruit staff, that is down to them and them alone. The industry has spent decades driving down costs, keeping pay rises to a minimum and destroying terms and conditions. What may have been an attractive role back then is not the same role now, and if you haven't got the T&Cs or working conditions in your favour, then it solely comes down to money. Cannot blame drivers one bit for taking up a HGV job, working similarly awful shifts in similar conditions, minus working with the general public, for a lot more money.

As Andreos1 pointed out earlier, operators must be spending fortunes on recruitment and the associated costs, and have done for years. Brexit has of course added to it, but it's not a new problem. It's one that hasn't been addressed for decades.

Agree with the comments re: deckers, but I hope when committing to an early run-off this year, there's a sufficient contingency plan in place to ensure that none of the last runs are cancelled. 

(19 Dec 2021, 4:21 pm)Andreos1 Wrote: It will be interesting to see how they manage that situation and whether cust svc is going to be a priority in that period of the day.
Front line staff missing + crowded or delayed buses = potential carnage.
A customer service offer would play a part in helping mitigate some of the issues.

Hmm, not sure I agree with that mind.

In addition to any external influences, there's internal factors at play and operators need to take some responsibity for the shortage of staff and high attrition rate.

I can't see Boxing Day being that busy to be honest, especially with no home games and the Government's recent change in messaging. 

I agree a customer service offering could be a help, but I don't think any of the operators will be providing any for the four days 25th - 29th. I can't see any posts to say what the opening hours are though.
(19 Dec 2021, 5:59 pm)Adrian Wrote: Seems to happen regular at the weekends. Perhaps a knowledge gap with whoever is responsible for updating those lists over the weekend.

I agree though. Most will check the Saturday listing at the top only and think Sunday is not published yet.


It may not be solely the fault of bus companies, but they are a long-standing factor in the problem. 

If bus companies cannot retain and recruit staff, that is down to them and them alone. The industry has spent decades driving down costs, keeping pay rises to a minimum and destroying terms and conditions. What may have been an attractive role back then is not the same role now, and if you haven't got the T&Cs or working conditions in your favour, then it solely comes down to money. Cannot blame drivers one bit for taking up a HGV job, working similarly awful shifts in similar conditions, minus working with the general public, for a lot more money.

As Andreos1 pointed out earlier, operators must be spending fortunes on recruitment and the associated costs, and have done for years. Brexit has of course added to it, but it's not a new problem. It's one that hasn't been addressed for decades.

Agree with the comments re: deckers, but I hope when committing to an early run-off this year, there's a sufficient contingency plan in place to ensure that none of the last runs are cancelled. 


I can't see Boxing Day being that busy to be honest, especially with no home games and the Government's recent change in messaging. 

I agree a customer service offering could be a help, but I don't think any of the operators will be providing any for the four days 25th - 29th. I can't see any posts to say what the opening hours are though.
The issues over dwindling staff rights and pay awards is one wholly brought about by conservatism, the moment services went from public service to profit ventures changed everything, and the 36 years that have passed have for 23 been under conservative rule where rights and values have been stripped away from anyone outside of the elite. I wont say the 13 years of Labour were much better, the shift to charm centrists guaranteed no heavy duty social policy.
In that time the public has put up with cuts, route revisions and deviations, direct links constantly cut as companies chase subsidies and divert fast routes to meandering and tedious journeys. All the while car ownership has gone off the face of the earth mainly thanks to finance, so bus companies never did enough to fight that whilst trying to pay a dividend to shareholders.
Where we are today has roots in all of that, Brexit, Incompetent governance, Covid, and despite the lies of the ONS and the regime a recession that has never gone away since 2008.Now we have all major transport plans torn up by the home counties regime, so with everything else arrive at xmas 2021 with the worst services in recent memory.
But I still stand by my comment that the exodus for temporarily high paid HGV driving was the single largest factor in the last twelve months, I do hope the industry recovers to a point that when the HGV companies terminate all contracts and offer much lower contracts as an exchange, when sense hits, the bus companies don't welcome them back with open arms...
(19 Dec 2021, 12:55 pm)Train8261 Wrote: Same here. I have a feeling gne are gonna be flooding with complaints if some last service buses get cancelled om Christmas Eve/Boxing day & New Year's Eve
I am not so sure. I assume there are fewer duties needed on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve given the early finishes. There'll be no late turns for a start and they are using a Saturday timetable, which I assume needs fewer drivers than a normal Friday to begin with. If they have work left over to cover on the two "eves' then  they really do have problems
The X1's tomorrow are horrendous. 

There isn't a service to Peterlee for over 5 HOURS
(22 Dec 2021, 6:22 pm)Keeiajs Wrote: The X1's tomorrow are horrendous. 

There isn't a service to Peterlee for over 5 HOURS
Hopefully the full slate of 55s run tomorrow as that is supposed to leave Peterlee 4 minutes after the X1 does (or doesn't). I wonder how full the layover bays at the Galleries will be
(19 Dec 2021, 5:58 pm)Train8261 Wrote: I'm quite surprised arriva decided to not run any this year
Arriva purposely decided not to operate, to give drivers a clear period of rest after the last year.
(22 Dec 2021, 10:27 pm)RobinHood Wrote: Arriva purposely decided not to operate, to give drivers a clear period of rest after the last year.


Hogwash. That might be the public reasoning (retail are also dining out on it - have heard a few adverts now saying that shops are giving their staff an extra day off this Boxing Day to spend with loved ones to thank them for their hard work this year) but in reality for the bus industry it’s down to coverage issues and we’re all smart enough on this forum to know that. In retail it’s more likely to be down to the limited trade on a Sunday.

Arriva are in by far the worst situation out of the big three for coverage and it is understandable that they would not want to risk plucking up volunteers to work Boxing Day.


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(22 Dec 2021, 10:52 pm)Dan Wrote: Arriva are in by far the worst situation out of the big three for coverage and it is understandable that they would not want to risk plucking up volunteers to work Boxing Day.


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Not sure this is the case in the Northumbria depots which are where staff are sourced from to operate their usual Boxing Day services. As far as I was last told, both Ashington and Blyth are managing to cover everything fine (vehicle shortages at Ashington causing far more issues than drivers), though I've not heard anything of Jesmond.
(22 Dec 2021, 11:52 pm)mb134 Wrote: Not sure this is the case in the Northumbria depots which are where staff are sourced from to operate their usual Boxing Day services. As far as I was last told, both Ashington and Blyth are managing to cover everything fine (vehicle shortages at Ashington causing far more issues than drivers), though I've not heard anything of Jesmond.
How does Ashington have a vehicle shortage?
(22 Dec 2021, 6:22 pm)Keeiajs Wrote: The X1's tomorrow are horrendous. 

There isn't a service to Peterlee for over 5 HOURS

It looks like there'll have to be some light running to achieve what's listed on the disruptions page, unless it's incorrect.

From what I can see, the 12.04 from Newcastle becomes the 13.30 out of Peterlee, but that 12.04 terminates at Washington Galleries and doesn't reach Peterlee. 
Same for the 13.04 from Newcastle. That should be the 14.30 out of Peterlee (which isn't a listed disruption), but the bus terminates at Washington Galleries southbound and doesn't reach Peterlee. 

There's also a 45 minute gap in the morning and a 55 minute gap around 6pm, on an already reduced/temporary timetable.

(22 Dec 2021, 10:52 pm)Dan Wrote: Hogwash. That might be the public reasoning (retail are also dining out on it - have heard a few adverts now saying that shops are giving their staff an extra day off this Boxing Day to spend with loved ones to thank them for their hard work this year) but in reality for the bus industry it’s down to coverage issues and we’re all smart enough on this forum to know that. In retail it’s more likely to be down to the limited trade on a Sunday.

Arriva are in by far the worst situation out of the big three for coverage and it is understandable that they would not want to risk plucking up volunteers to work Boxing Day.

Sainsburys have been milking this extra day as a thank you to staff, but they either have to use holiday (as they get their bank holidays rolled up into leave) or take it as unpaid. So about as much a thank you as a kick where it hurts. 

The suggestion that Arriva have done likewise for the benefit of the workers made me chuckle though...  Smile one eye on the balance sheet and not wanting to take the gamble sounds more likely.
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(23 Dec 2021, 10:36 am)Adrian Wrote: Sainsburys have been milking this extra day as a thank you to staff, but they either have to use holiday (as they get their bank holidays rolled up into leave) or take it as unpaid. So about as much a thank you as a kick where it hurts. 

The suggestion that Arriva have done likewise for the benefit of the workers made me chuckle though...  Smile one eye on the balance sheet and not wanting to take the gamble sounds more likely.

Indeed - Boxing Day being a Sunday has helped the decision for supermarkets - less trading hours and you've got less staff contracted to the day (those contracted to Sunday will either have to make their hours up elsewhere or have saved a day off) and with the 2 additional Bank Holidays coming up - you save a bit of cash with 2 sets of premium days upcoming

It's the same with Next celebrating delaying their sale on Boxing Day when in reality its because it's a Sunday, premium rate (for some collegues not all) and they don't want their biggest sales day of the year truncated into 6 hours of trade in England and Wales.

Supermarkets have also been cleverly schtum about support teams, logistics and supply who of course will all be working.
Wistfully stuck in the 90s
(22 Dec 2021, 10:52 pm)Dan Wrote: Hogwash. That might be the public reasoning (retail are also dining out on it - have heard a few adverts now saying that shops are giving their staff an extra day off this Boxing Day to spend with loved ones to thank them for their hard work this year) but in reality for the bus industry it’s down to coverage issues and we’re all smart enough on this forum to know that. In retail it’s more likely to be down to the limited trade on a Sunday.

Arriva are in by far the worst situation out of the big three for coverage and it is understandable that they would not want to risk plucking up volunteers to work Boxing Day.


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Dan, whether you like it or not, it was the decision of the Area MD to not operate Boxing Day to give drivers some well deserved time off. Simple as that.

The Northumbria area is not suffering with driver shortages (in comparison with Durham County), and plenty of volunteers would work for the pay/extra days off if asked.

It was purely a gesture from the business to not even offer it.
Well, if shops are closed and buses aren't running, they mustn't be that essential then. I demand a refund on all the claps!
(23 Dec 2021, 3:54 pm)streetdeckfan Wrote: Well, if shops are closed and buses aren't running, they mustn't be that essential then. I demand a refund on all the claps!

i am working Christmas and boxing day so ill takes 2 of your claps for those 12 hour shifts!
(23 Dec 2021, 10:36 am)Adrian Wrote: It looks like there'll have to be some light running to achieve what's listed on the disruptions page, unless it's incorrect.

From what I can see, the 12.04 from Newcastle becomes the 13.30 out of Peterlee, but that 12.04 terminates at Washington Galleries and doesn't reach Peterlee. 
Same for the 13.04 from Newcastle. That should be the 14.30 out of Peterlee (which isn't a listed disruption), but the bus terminates at Washington Galleries southbound and doesn't reach Peterlee. 

There's also a 45 minute gap in the morning and a 55 minute gap around 6pm, on an already reduced/temporary timetable.

The 12.04 and 13.04 from Newcastle were changed to full cancellations on the disruptions page, and according to bustimes, the 13.30 and 14.30 from Peterlee didn't run after all, with neither appearing on the disruptions page. Neither have been tweeted as cancellations nor have appeared in the app.

The list looks more extensive since the morning now. You have two fairly big gaps at key times from Newcastle.
- 15.49 and 16.04 are missing, so a 45 minute gap until the 16.34 service, then the 16.46 is missing.
- The 17.50, 18.05, 18.25 and 18.40 are missing in a row, so no full X1 from 17.30 (but 17.40 X1A) until 19.00! 90 minute gap.
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I'm too lazy to check, but I was wondering if there is any prioritisation for covering subsidised routes over commercial routes.

I would have suggested there may be consequences from the likes of Nexus for not running them, but it doesn't seem to affect GCT!

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(23 Dec 2021, 3:21 pm)RobinHood Wrote: Dan, whether you like it or not, it was the decision of the Area MD to not operate Boxing Day to give drivers some well deserved time off. Simple as that.

The Northumbria area is not suffering with driver shortages (in comparison with Durham County), and plenty of volunteers would work for the pay/extra days off if asked.

It was purely a gesture from the business to not even offer it.

I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on this one!

As others have also mentioned, this same 'gesture of goodwill' is being used in retail too - whereas in reality there's reasoning behind it that the business doesn't publicly admit.
(23 Dec 2021, 5:07 pm)Adrian Wrote: The 12.04 and 13.04 from Newcastle were changed to full cancellations on the disruptions page, and according to bustimes, the 13.30 and 14.30 from Peterlee didn't run after all, with neither appearing on the disruptions page. Neither have been tweeted as cancellations nor have appeared in the app.

The list looks more extensive since the morning now. You have two fairly big gaps at key times from Newcastle.
- 15.49 and 16.04 are missing, so a 45 minute gap until the 16.34 service, then the 16.46 is missing.
- The 17.50, 18.05, 18.25 and 18.40 are missing in a row, so no full X1 from 17.30 (but 17.40 X1A) until 19.00! 90 minute gap.
That 19:00 would be rammed, I don't want to be on that. That is a joke