Solving Driver Shortages

Create schedules that retain and attract bus drivers

The driver shortage is a growing problem that leads to poor experiences for everyone. Passengers face longer wait times and crowded buses, resulting in poor passenger experience and loss of ridership. Drivers suffer greater pressure and longer hours to make up for the lack of resources, leading to burnout and absenteeism. One reinforces the other in a self-perpetuating cycle.

Driving a bus is no easy feat. Drivers often face long and strenuous hours and/or irregular “split” shifts, which are especially challenging for people hoping to spend time with their family, study, or take on another job. New drivers are often dealt the most challenging schedules, which further hurts recruitment efforts.

To resolve bus driver shortages, the industry needs a better, smarter approach to scheduling and rostering — one that puts drivers’ needs and preferences at the heart of the solution. Because driver happiness and morale means the difference between nabbing that new hire (or not) and a driver calling out (or not). And that can mean the difference between regular services and no services at all.

Match drivers’ work preferences

In a driver shortage, every run that is customized to driver preferences counts. With Optibus’ cloud-native scheduling and rostering software platform, operators and agencies can quickly create rosters that incorporate many more unique driver parameters and custom settings than other tools can offer. By listening to drivers’ needs, you can improve drivers’ work conditions and quality of life, reducing the number of workers calling out sick, burning out, quitting, striking, and otherwise.

Minimize undesirable shifts

Using Multiple Scenario Creation from Optibus, one US agency with over one million annual passengers reduced their average split duration by 17% and improved the quality of Saturday runs while maintaining identical services. By improving shift quality, this agency saw fewer call-outs and complaints and improved their driver relationships, which is key during a shortage.

Reduce barriers to recruitment and retention

Open the doors to a larger, more diverse candidate pool. With a wider variety of shift types, including part-time shifts and overtime caps, you can attract new candidates that may not have previously applied, and accommodate the changing needs of existing drivers.

Increase operational efficiency & reduce runs

Maintaining peak services while minimizing splits and shaving off runs is a sweet spot that is possible — with the capability to run multiple scenarios quickly. Optibus’ optimization algorithms can reduce runs in the face of driver shortages, enabling you to maintain services. Because the power to reduce runs, even if it is just one or two, can mean the difference between regular services and no services at all.
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