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Shortage of Bus Drivers in Budapest on the Mend

Hungary Today 2024.06.25.

Although there is a shortage of staff at BKV Zrt. (public transport operator in Budapest), this does not endanger the regular operation of bus, trolleybus, metro and tram lines, 24.hu reports.

In response to 24.hu‘s questions, the Center for Budapest Transport (BKK) said that the drivers working on its routes are employed by BKV and ArrivaBus, the latter providing a third of the bus service, while BKV is responsible for everything else. BKV employs

  • 2,000 bus drivers,
  • 300 trolleybus drivers,
  • 950 tram drivers
  • and 330 metro drivers on a full-time basis.

“In September 2023, the company was among the first to make available a legally compliant training course that allows category B drivers to obtain a category D license for bus driving, by skipping category C training,” they wrote in their response to the portal, adding that

thanks to this and intensive recruitment, the shortage of staff in the “rubber wheel sectors” has eased and is expected to be eliminated with the current 300 trainees taking up their jobs.

In the rail sectors, there is a shortage of 70-90 people, and BKV is replacing the missing drivers with part-time workers. As reported, wages have been increased by

  • 15 percent in 2022,
  • 16 percent in 2023
  • and 12.5 percent in 2024.

ArrivaBus employs 1,200 bus drivers and is also facing a driver shortage. “ArrivaBus has developed a complex program to address the situation, including a completely rethought recruitment strategy, an extensive retention program, its own driving school and raising the profile of the profession as a social responsibility initiative,” BKK wrote, adding that

their training program is also running at full capacity and is expected to address the shortage.

“ArrivaBus is the first in the sector to engage in transparent wage communication and has also launched a wage calculator on its website,” they write. In accordance with the wage calculator, a bus driver driving a solo bus on a morning shift could take home a net HUF 456,000 (EUR 1,150 / 1 EUR=396 HUF) in January, compared to HUF 491,000 for a bus driver driving an articulated bus. Another factor influencing the salary is whether the driver takes on extra shifts, but also how economically they drive the bus. The company also offers an entry bonus, currently HUF 500,000 for each new colleague.

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Via 24.hu, Featured image: Facebook/BKK – Budapesti Közlekedési Központ

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