The new Driver CPC laws have of course been causing a lot of controversy over past months, and two of the A-Line drivers have just taken part in their first training session.
A-Line really only employ the more experienced drivers, of course Steve has been driving buses for some 40 years now and is very knowledgeable about hazards, how to drive smoothly etc, something really you'd have to learn when driving Nationals! Really he felt it was a bit of an insult to drivers with experience like himself undertaking some of these courses are really they just aren't needed. I suppose yes, this won't apply to everyone and older drivers may need 'top up' sessions in some cases, but on a yearly basis for experienced drivers, is it really needed?
On top of this also comes cost for the operator! Jim stated that he paid £350 for the session, and paying this every year for a small bus company is quite harmful. Adding yet another in essence 'tax' to the industry won't help out these small companies at all, and therefore A-Line can only afford to pay for only the regular drivers' training and not the part time drivers such as Derrick.
While out on the road to assess driving skill Steve was told off for traveling at 32mph in a 30 zone, fair enough really. But on the 'How its done' run with the instructor he was doing 36mph in the same zone! Things like this though small, give no faith to who's taking part and who's paying for it! The only 'useful' information that came out of the course Steve said was that he did learn some skill in how to drive the manual Ford Transit more efficiently. But really does this even matter when the services are day to day run with automatic vehicles?
Personal predictions well, will some small companies be forced to get rid of drivers because they can't afford to pay the CPC fees? This will then mean you could get drivers from bigger companies who have already given the drivers training, coming down to work for small independents to earn that bit extra money, therefore leaving the bigger companies with driver shortages? Or could this become a continuous loop of drivers switching between big and small companies to carry out the CPC tests? Who knows, but it will be an interesting topic to watch!