In recent years, the shortage of qualified bus drivers has garnered increased media attention, particularly when school districts (a major employer of bus drivers) have been unable to provide service to students during the school year. As an article in School Bus Fleet noted, there has been a shortage of bus drivers nationwide for years, resulting in service interruptions in places like Indiana, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and many other places across the nation.
The driver shortage extends beyond just school bus drivers. As StreetsBlog covered, metro bus systems across the U.S. have also struggled to provide service due to driver shortages. The problem is widespread, affecting bus routes in San Francisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Toledo, and, closer to home for us, in Miami, Florida.
With seemingly no end to the shortage of experienced drivers in sight, it becomes more important than ever for companies to focus on retaining their staff. So, what can your organization do to better retain its strongest drivers? Are there new ways you might use to keep them challenged and enthusiastic about their day-to-day transportation responsibilities?
Many organizations rely on rewards, compensation, and traditional post-CDL training to keep their best staff motivated to stay on with them. But they may be finding that these techniques don’t go far enough to address burnout and stress, a leading cause of turnover for drivers of large vehicles.
Leading organizations are addressing turnover among their most valuable and experienced staff head on and in new ways. Using virtual reality or simulation training, these organizations are helping drivers take control of their own learning in ways that are driving retention. NextGen is proud to be a leading provider of bus driver simulation training.
A Bus With Extras
NextGen bus simulators look and feel like a bus—with a steering wheel, seats, and mirrors. Drivers can feel the weight of the vehicle and the engine as they control a simulated journey. It even comes complete with a range of instruments including brakes, gears, indicators, gauges, and switches.
Our simulators quickly and realistically simulate a range of difficult situations like bus parking and backing, student pickup and drop-offs, and experience in other high-risk situations. They also anticipate and capture emerging challenges like municipal flooding and health emergencies at the state, national, or municipal levels.
Each high-fidelity simulation produces a range of data to help drivers understand how they respond to challenges, fine-tune their reactions, and track how well they improve over time.
Training With A Twist
This kind of training does more than improve skills. Drivers can capture data from individual scenarios in real-time. They can modify, pause, and replay them again and again to practice their ability to respond effectively. This helps drivers engage more deeply and feel motivated in their jobs.
This kind of flexibility gives drivers more control over their learning, which is helpful to morale, motivation, and, most importantly, safety.
It can also save money. It doesn’t require a bus, which means it won’t need fuel or open areas to maneuver. That means less risk to companies, equipment, workers, and even communities. And with fewer engines idling, NextGen training is better for the environment.
There’s even a recruitment benefit. Bus driver simulation signals an organization is comfortable with leading-edge technology, which helps attract tech-savvy employees.
NextGen bus driver simulation creates experiences that build skills and confidence. Better trained drivers have fewer accidents, spend more time on the road, and are easier on equipment.
Please contact us to find out how you can use NextGen bus driver training to build skill and confidence among your drivers and build loyalty and retention for their long-term success in your organization.