87.000 bus drivers needed in Germany by 2030

87.000 bus drivers needed in Germany by 2030

Germany’s shortage of bus drivers is now worse than originally predicted. A combination of coronavirus job changes, the anticipated “green mobility transition” and bureaucracy-heavy application processes for new employees means that Germany could be short of 87.000 bus drivers by 2030.

Germany is missing thousands of bus drivers

The shortage of bus drivers that Germany will face in the near future is larger than initially expected: according to new estimations by the Federal Association of German Bus Companies (BDO), the country will be short 87.000 bus drivers by 2030.

The association previously predicted a shortage of 76.000 personnel by the end of the decade. Currently, transport associations in Germany and companies that run long-distance buses are already missing 7.800 employees.

Tourism Officer at the BDO, Patrick Orschulko predicts that the bus drivers are likely to become even more stretched. “There are lots of drivers retiring”, Orschulko told the dpa. The association is also gritting its teeth in anticipation of Germany’s Verkehrswende (mobility transition). “We are expecting passenger numbers to double,” added Orschulko.

Bus driver apprenticeship must be simplified

In a 2022 survey by the Ifo Institute, 49,7 percent of companies in Germany said they were short of workers. To counteract the scarcity of new employees, the German government is currently scrambling together a plan to attract foreign workers to the federal republic and simplify the bureaucratic barriers which prevent speedy employment.

However, those born in Germany or who hold a German passport are not immune to facing bureaucratic hurdles. For bus drivers in particular, the BDO believes that the qualification process should be Entbürokratisiert (de-bureaucratised) to follow the Austrian model, whereby trainee bus drivers are ready to work after one teaching unit, one theory and one practical driving test.

As it stands, trainee bus drivers in Germany must get a licence for driving a bus and complete a second driving qualification which allows them to transport passengers.

Thumb image credit: Lukassek /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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