Metro on track with tackling train driver shortages

Publication Date13 September 2021
While Metro officials have recently been forced to regularly cancel services due to the impact of drivers having to self-isolate, the network has faced issues for years with its staff being lured away by rival operators offering higher salaries.

The Covid pandemic exacerbated the problem further after the closure of testing centres meant that new driver training schools had to be cancelled, before Metro operator Nexus took on a record 30 recruits at once to plug the gaps last autumn.

Martin Kearney,

Nexus' chief operating officer, told councillors on Thursday afternoon that the Metro is currently fully staffed in terms of drivers, with 174 employed.

Asked by Gateshead Council transport chief Coun John McElroy whether the Metro was still being affected by the long-term problem of other rail companies poaching its drivers, Mr Kearney replied that the train driver market remains "competitive".

However, he said that Nexus bosses are able to plan well in advance because larger rail companies inform them of how many vacancies they are likely to recruit for and that last year's 30-strong intake proved Metro's ability to attract large numbers of new trainees in one go if needed.

At a meeting of the North East Joint Transport Committee's Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee, Mr Kearney added: "With our close contact with other operators and our ability to train drivers in greater numbers, I am confident we won't see a dip in driver numbers in

Carl Johnson the near future."

Metro drivers had staged strike action in 2019 over a dispute between Nexus...

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