Bus services in and around Preston were severely disrupted today by an unprecedented shortage of drivers.
Preston Bus admitted it had been left in a “difficult situation” due to staff taking the day off for the Muslim festival of Eid, coupled with drivers on holiday and off sick.
Services were affected from 6am and the situation is not expected to be back to normal until this evening. Some office staff have been out driving buses to help ease the situation.
“We can only apologise for any inconvenience caused to passengers today,” said a company spokesman.
“Eid is always a difficult time for us because of the number of Muslim drivers we employ.
“But this year is worse than we have had for many, many years because it is compounded by the number of drivers who are off on holiday or on sick leave.
“We are doing our best to keep disruption to a minimum. And we would like to thank passengers for their understanding.”
Preston Bus only put out a warning about possible disruption last night, prompting criticism from some travellers.
The spokesman said: “The situation only became totally apparent over the weekend. We gave as much notice as possible.
“All school bus services ran as normal this morning. On other services there were delays, but we tried to keep those delays to a minimum.
“If passengers are at their bus stops 10 or 15 minutes earlier than normal then they should get to their destinations on time.”