Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Transport Skills For London


Last night I was the keynote speaker at the Transport Skills For London conference. Held at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden, the event brought together 120 training providers and transport operators to discuss the development needs of drivers and other transport professionals.

I opened proceedings by highlighting the changes in this field over recent years. We have come a long way from the days when transport was a Cinderella service, of interest only to trainspotters and enthusiasts like myself - I was probably the only child in North Yorkshire to have the complete Tube map on my bedroom wall. Now passengers have high expectations and staff also have a role ensuring the safety of users. Training in soft skills - customer care, conflict handling, providing information - is vital for front line staff including bus drivers, platform supervisors and cab drivers.

Bus operators and minicab providers also addressed the conference, highlighting the importance of training and a recognised career path in motivating their employees. Traditionally there has been a high turnover of staff in these industries, reaching 30% amongst bus drivers. Minicab driving had been seen to often as stop gap employment for people seeking to become Black Cab drivers or filling time between 'real' jobs.

Trainers, including our own Havering College, talked about the courses they could provide and the help available to employers. The drive to professionalise the transport industry is under way and likely to produce great improvements in the next decade.

6 comments:

morris hickey said...

And when you were a child in North Yorkshire with your London tube map, Roger, did you find the District Line station in Richmond?

There are two areas in which training is very clearly required in bus operation. Management needs to be responsive to the views of the travelling public, and also to be more rigorous in ensuring quality of service. Drivers (at least on route 462) need training in timekeeping during evenings and on Sundays.

Roger Evans said...

Morris, I always thought that Richmond, Middlesex must be a very pleasant place to be named after Richmond, North Yorks...

And I concur with your views on bus driver training.

morris hickey said...

Roger - steer clear of Tony Arbour. Prior to 1 April 1965 Richmond was in SURREY!!

Roger Evans said...

Doh! I stand corrected. On the other hand Tony has never even been to Romford...

morris hickey said...

Tony's luckier than I am then.

David Grantham said...

Romford is on the rise, according to the Financial Times -

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/92c69ea2-091d-11de-b8b0-0000779fd2ac.html