By Briac Trebert
The shortage of school bus drivers – which has been reinforced with the health and economic crisis of Covid-19 – continues. About 8,000 drivers would be missing. A serious problem that sometimes causes routes to be reviewed, or even lines to be suspended altogether, to the detriment of users.
To overcome it, officials may now be authorized to combine with their employment “a lucrative activity of driving a school transport vehicle or similar”, according to a decree published this Thursday, December 29, 2022 at Official newspaper.
An exceptional measure taken because these recruitment difficulties disrupt “the proper functioning” of school transport services, explains the government, “as well as on-demand transport organized for pupils and students with disabilities”.
“An experimental device for a period of three years”
The decree is signed by the Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, as well as by the ministers of the Public Service, Stanislas Guérini, of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, of the Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, and of Health, François Braun. And despite everything, it wants to be “an experimental device for a period of three years”.
Civil servants – State, communities and hospitals – will be able to work as bus drivers but must however obtain for this “prior and individual authorization from the public employer” to which they belong, specifies the decree.
The exercise as an accessory of the activity of driver “must not affect the normal functioning, the independence or the neutrality of the service to which the agent is assigned”, stipulates the text.
On an experimental basis, for a period of three years from the entry into force of this decree, public officials to whom the general code of the public service applies may be authorized by the hierarchical authority to which they report to exercise the lucrative ancillary activity of driving a passenger transport vehicle assigned to school or similar transport services mentioned in Article R. 3111-5 of the Transport Code.
The National Federation of Passenger Transport (Fntv) had proposed last October, to deal with this growing shortage, a reform of the dedicated CAP diploma, and a lowering to 18 of the age for access to a driving license. coach (instead of 24).
Difficulties in recruiting young people
The constraints of the profession can indeed be complicated to live with, as explained by a professional, Rémi, in an article on news.frbefore summer. One out of two coach drivers does not work full time, and many assignments are seasonal (school, leisure, tourism, etc.) and not very complementary. So many obstacles to recruiting young people, while around 50% of drivers are over 50 years old.
“In 2022, 81% of recruitments are considered difficult by road passenger transport companies”, notes the Fntv, who has just signed with Pôle emploi a national framework agreement for a period of three years in order to meet the significant recruitment needs of the sector.
Almost everywhere in France, recruitment campaigns are carried out by the Fntv, which represents more than 1,300 companies of all sizes (VSEs, SMEs, ETIs and groups). Its members employ around 85,000 people, according to the latest data available, but for months companies in the sector have been experiencing “an unprecedented employment crisis”.
More and more companies are even giving up responding to new markets or projects for lack of drivers and are even unable to honor all of their markets, according to the Fntv, which also launched a new platform linking job offers and candidates, dedicated to the road passenger transport sector, linked to job center offers.
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