The shortage of bus drivers in public transport in The Netherlands in 2030 Analysing the shortage of bus drivers and ways to mediate it

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In the Netherlands, there is a shortage of bus drivers which results in high work pressure, bus cancellations, and strikes. The future shortage of bus drivers was unclear except for its projected exacerbation due to the ageing population of bus drivers. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the issue and explore potential solutions, this research sets the following objective: to give insights to governments and public transportation companies about the shortage of bus drivers in 2030 in The Netherlands by engaging the System Dynamics (SD) methodology to analyse what the shortage will be, which factors influence the in- and outflow of bus drivers, and which policies can be undertaken to decrease the shortage. The scope of this study is aimed primarily on bus drivers who are covered by the collective bargaining agreement of regional transport in The Netherlands. However, the calculation of the future shortage applies to the total number of bus drivers in the Netherlands. The research strategy was a mixed strategy of quantitative and qualitative aspects. The input consists of, partly public, quantitative data, and interviews. To reach the objective of the research the following question must be answered: - How can policy makers address the shortage of bus drivers in public transportation in The Netherlands in 2030 by targeting influential factors? The findings of this study indicate that the deficit of bus drivers is expected to rise to 20,000-22,000 drivers by 2030. This translates to a scarcity of 55.1% to 57.5% when compared to the average number of bus drivers over the past eleven years. This is mainly because of an increase in travelled kilometres with bus and the ageing population of bus drivers. More than 32% of the bus drivers today are above 60 years old and will go with retirement no later than 2030. Regardless of what is often thought, insufficient salary is not the key problem anymore. According to the findings of this research, bus companies should focus on improving the employee benefits, especially reducing irregularity and enabling customized schedules. Improving employee benefits in combination with more targeted recruitment campaigns, in which the emphasis is on flexible work hours and the good salary, is the according to this research the most feasible and impactful approach of reducing the shortage of bus drivers.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen