Preston bus disruptions: Why are there fewer services and is there a driver shortage?

Commuters and bus users in Preston are continuing to see a disruption to services in the city, after a reduction in the number of routes running was announced over the weekend.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:07 pm

Stagecoach, a major bus operator which runs services across the UK, took to social media on Saturday to announce that fewer select services are running in Preston.

But these disruptions have continued into this week, as today, September 14, eight different bus services across the city remain disrupted due to the difficulty in sourcing drivers.

The Post now understands this is as a result of illness and Covid-19, with drivers being asked to isolate.

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Stagecoach confirmed that out of routes across the Merseyside and West Lancashire area, those in Preston were the worst hit.

And earlier today, Stagecoach tweeted that further Preston routes had been disrupted including the X2, 1, 1A, 3, 9, 111, 61 and 68.

A spokesperson said: “We are continuing to run the vast majority of services across the region, however, we have had to change some scheduled bus journeys as a result of driver shortages.

“Preston is the main area in our Merseyside and South Lancashire region that is currently impacted by the driver shortages.

Stagecoach says it is facing staff shortages in Preston

“Bus operators right across the UK are seeing similar issues with driver shortages.

“As well as driver shortages directly linked to Covid-19, as a result of the pandemic, there is evidence in the wider economy that some people are reassessing their lives and careers.

“Nevertheless, we are still seeing strong demand for jobs with us, including driving roles, and we are continuing to recruit in the areas needed to run our operation and deliver services for our customers.

“Where there are any impacts on our services due to driver shortages, we are providing live updates through our app, website and social media channels.”

Bus services in the city have been reduced

Sickness and ill-health also remain major factors in the increasing shortage of lorry and bus drivers, according to a new study by the Unite union.

The Post has also contacted local operator Preston Bus for a comment.

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