On the occasion of ETF’s 6th Congress in Budapest, the Road Section presented an Emergency Motion on driving and rest time rules for the bus and coach sector. The motion was unanimously adopted and sets the course of ETF’s campaign aimed at stopping any attempt by policymakers to relax the existing driving and rest time regime in road passenger transport.
Picture this: bus and coach passenger transport drivers driving 12 days without a single day off, with no more than 5 to 6 hours of rest per day, and this is only if they’re so lucky. Inhumane? Yes. And yet, this is precisely the European Commission’s intention.
In the coming months, as part of the Mobility Package, the European Commission has to present a report to the European Parliament and the Council on driving and rest time in bus and coach passenger transport.
The Mobility Package’s current driving and rest time rules have the potential to guarantee a decent work environment in road passenger transport.
In spite of this, the Commission has clearly indicated that it will propose more flexible rules for the bus & coach sector – despite an alarming shortage of drivers and levels of driver fatigue.
Driver shortage due to a shortage of decent jobs has exploded in previous months. Even before the pandemic, the bus and coach sector was already struggling with an ageing workforce and one of the lowest levels of young workers and female drivers in transport. With the pandemic and lockdowns bringing the bus and a coach sector to a halt, a significant number of bus and coach drivers found jobs elsewhere. Improving working conditions is the only way to attract a skilled workforce back to the sector – and introducing more flexibility in driving and rest time is no way to go about it.
Driver fatigue is a serious problem throughout Europe, constituting a major risk factor for accidents. ETF’s Driver Fatigue Study conducted in 2020 shows that 66% of the 671 bus and coach drivers who were surveyed regularly feel tired when driving. 86% of the drivers in question pointed at long working days without days off as the top cause of fatigue, 84% pointed at poor quality of sleep and 78% at work pressure as the main causes. Changing the current driving and rest time rules will benefit neither driver nor passenger safety.
Driving and rest time flexibility in bus and coach transport? Not on ETF’s watch!
The ETF Road Transport Section made aware all delegates from transport unions all over Europe of the European Commission’s intentions with its emergency motion at ETF Congress and has kickstarted its campaign aimed at stopping any attempt by policymakers to relax the existing driving and rest time regime in road passenger transport.
ETF’s affiliates have been sending ETF’s driver fatigue study results and a copy of the Emergency Motion to Transport Ministries all over Europe.
The ETF will also organise a study day for policymakers to facilitate a meeting between bus and coach drivers, and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport to make sure changes to driving and rest time don’t go through.
ETF Road Section sending letters and standing together to say: Hands Off Driving and Rest Time for Bus & Coach Drivers