Bus driver recruitment

Started by triumph, December 19, 2022, 11:00:57 PM

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TC is currently advertising to hire bus drivers.

In FAQs is the question:
How long does the recruitment process take?
And the astounding answer is:
The recruitment process has several steps involved. The recruitment process from start to finish (excluding the training) takes approximately four months.

That seems utterly rediculous! Four months just to be hired! And only then the paid training starts! So an applicant today has to wait some 4 months to learn if they have employment, and, if they waited it out, is unlikely to hit the road until the middle of 2023.

No wonder the Action bus service is understaffed, and at this pace, it seems it will remain that way for a very long time indeed.
(By comparison, how long would QCity or Murrays normally take to select an applicant responding to a vacancy advert? Anyone know?)


Four months is quick as opposed to what it used to be, it can be quicker depending what you have that's required....

The steps currently are-
-Initial Numeracy and Literacy test, psychometric testing and a drive around the depot with a trainer
-Panel Interview
-Background Checks and reference checks
-licence upgrade OR driving assessment if you already possess MR/HR
-you will then be assigned to an available course

With the volume of applicants this process takes time, I think for myself there was probably two to three week between each of the first few steps, the delays come in at the driving assessment/licence upgrade as there is a very limited number of trainers who can do the upgrades and the upgrade is a minimum of three days, these trainers then also need to conduct upgrades on drivers completing their probationary period of employment and moving to a HR licence from MR which is also a three day process. 


Thank you for your explanation, but in effect you have confirmed my point, there are bottlenecks and inefficiencies through the process.

If we are ever going to see the TC bus system back to normal (ie operating to the same quality as the Light Rail) then considerable effort needs to be put into streamlining the recruitment processes. There is a shortage of heavy vehicle drivers (Finemore's advertising!) and TC is in competition with keen other employers. It is a very committed applicant to see the TC processes through.

If in work, the implied frequent time off to go through the process is a deterrent, and if not in work and on the Centrelink pittance, then 4 months is a heck of a long time to pass up other opportunities just to find out yes or no.

Perhaps the data is somewhere, but I am yet to see a statement on the rate at which the total number of drivers employed is increasing. It is a concern that recruitment processes are basically there just to deal with attrition and not well geared for the big employment increase necessary to re-establish an effective bus service.

One aspect from your information is unclear. TC says training is after employment. Does this include licence upgrades? If so it is not even part of the 4 months. Whilst I think 3 days for licence upgrading is wise, I am aware of a young Canberra chap who was sponsored for heavy vehicle training so as to be able to drive full size coaches associated with that employer. The practical process by a commercial trainer to go from car to HV took, I was told, just one day.... Umm. 


You will find the industry minimum for a C to MR upgrade is one day or usually a minimum of 8-10 driving hours. These would be done through private companies who offer this service. The government (TC) likely has stricter requirements and will take the extra two days to fine tune driving and skills, which is honestly for the better before giving someone a heavy vehicle licence.


I indicated misgivings over 1 day upgrades in a previous post.

On reflection there are 2 distinct aspects. The legal attainment of the HV licences and,secondly, the additional standards required by the employer. There is no practical reason why the two shouldn't be integrated, provided the employer wears the cost.

How ever this side discussion is a distraction from the main issue, that of the need to greatly improve recruitment efficiency.


I don't see a way to make it more efficient. If you speed it up you'll have people waiting on documents in the later stages and you lose your quality control and vetting process. I know for me personally I didn't get my drivers authority (issued by access Canberra) until week 2 of training despite having all the paperwork for it submitted at the medical stage.


You have fingered a bottleneck. Fixing that is a ministerial responsibility if the bureaucrats prove incapable in resolving it themselves.

So far none of the comments have distinguished between items as being part of unpaid or paid (employed) activity.

The minimising the length of time to going onto the payroll is critical in attracting and retaining viable applicants. On the other hand, the minimizing the entire time to becoming a rostered driver is critical to the recovery of the whole bus service.

Yes, there are probably plenty of bottlenecks beyond those quoted and other inefficiencies needing rethinking and streamlining. A defeatist process as usual attitude certainly can't help to expeditiously resolve the current service failure.

The need seems obvious.