According to Statistics Estonia, a total of almost 145 million passengers traveled by public transport in Estonia last year. Compared to 2019, there were 35% fewer passengers. At the same time, however, the popularity of the public transport driver’s profession increased. Aktsiaselts Tallinna Linnatransport, the largest public transport company in Estonia alone, recruited 362 new public transport drivers during the year.
Janika Seppor, the head of the personnel department of the public limited company Tallinna Linnatransport, explained that the interest in the public transport driver’s profession has grown in the last year. “If in previous years there was a labor shortage, today the interest in the profession is greater than there are jobs. Today, TLT employs more than 2,000 people – 1,184 bus drivers, 145 tram drivers, and 113 trolley drivers,” said Seppor.
She added that it is especially noteworthy that the popularity of the bus driver’s profession has grown among women. “Increasingly, women want to start working as public transport vehicle drivers and bus drivers. Up to 13% of bus drivers are already female drivers at TLT today,” Seppor emphasized.
According to Seppor, TLT, as a provider of public transport services, has stood for the high-quality operation of the vital service and ensured the safest and cleanest possible environment for all passengers and employees during the period of the spread of the virus. “At the beginning of the corona crisis, we developed our recruitment processes, intensified cooperation with the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the Road Administration in order to continue training in the e-environment. In addition to drivers, we urgently had to increase the number of cleaners to 103 to ensure the cleanliness and safety of the vehicles,” Seppor pointed out.
Last year, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund directed more than 330 people who were in a retraining program and were looking for a new professional outlet for D-category courses.
The Unemployment Insurance Fund directed 52 people to the public transport driver’s D-category courses conducted by Tallinna Linnatransport and 14 people to the tram driver’s courses.
In 2020, 66 people completed the D-category course at TLT, and a total of 208 people completed the professional training course for bus drivers.
“A person with a category D driving license, who has also completed sufficient internship to drive on a city line, has the opportunity to work as both a bus and trolley driver. When becoming a tram driver, you need a category B driving license and separate tram driver permits,” the head of the TLT personnel department specified.
Seppor stated that the training of public transport drivers would continue today, for two reasons. “Competent candidates are always needed, because a certain change of workforce is a natural part of the work environment. Every year, senior public transport drivers go on earned retirement and need to be replaced. There are also retirees for family reasons as well as for taking up other positions,” said Seppor.
She added that while the corona crisis has posed challenges for employers or employees in many sectors, the TLT has been able to increase the popularity of the public transport driver profession over the past year, and the proportion of young public transport drivers has increased significantly. “Today we see that the average age of public transport drivers has started to decrease over the year, and younger people, in addition to experienced drivers, also want stable work,” Seppor emphasized.