19 Apr 2018 Berlin > Warsaw
In Berlin, Kai, from BDO (IRU’s German member), gave me a rundown on German passenger transport. The big problem right now on his horizon is a driver shortage. More and more old-timers are leaving to retire while fewer fresh faces are entering the profession.
They aren’t really encouraged to take the seat behind the wheel. At 10 000 Euros, the truck and bus driving license is pretty expensive. Companies don’t want to pay it because they’re afraid that, once new drivers get it, they will just go work elsewhere. Since military service isn’t mandatory anymore, there are no more recruits getting one for free. And when students graduate, they are pushed to study longer in order to get high skilled jobs.
I had another take on the problem from Thomas who runs BusArt-Tours. Young people are actually interested in the industry but mostly as customers. The market is growing thanks to students looking for cheaper alternatives to trains.
Not enough is done to show younger generations the many perks of a life on the road: what a wonderful way it is to meet people from all walks of life. In the end, he even asked me if I would be interested in becoming a driver.
« The current driver shortage is a real threat to the industry and if it continues unchecked it will harm economies and negatively impact consumers. We need to attract a new, younger and, more diverse demographic and conditions and perceptions must be dramatically improved. For that to happen, we need to enforce minimum standards globally »