Demand for charter work and tours is picking up, and many drivers are coming back to work after being furloughed for months. As a result, businesses need to take steps to help drivers make a smooth transition back to work, recommends Bob Crescenzo, vice president of Lancer Insurance.
“It’s important to think about your employees, your vehicles, your drivers and yourself as all needing to be recharged and reconnected to the business that you’re in, whatever that might be,” Crescenzo said during a recent UMA Town Hall.
Crescenzo shared 10 ways companies can retrain their drivers as part of a successful restart plan for a motorcoach business. Lancer is offering driver training in conjunction with the UMA Motorcoach EXPO on April 23.
Here are his tips:
1. Assume any driver is almost like a new driver. Go through the technical process, make sure you have all their records up to date, and do background checks. If drivers haven’t driven for months, you’ve got to fill in that gap — from a compliance point of view, from a business management point of view, and from an employee management point of view.
2. Interview and inquire about driving work since the shutdown.
3. Assess driver’s reaction to COVID-19. Find out if they’ve had a vaccine, and if they are ready to come back and work with passengers. Some drivers may not want to work right now because they’re still collecting unemployment or have concerns about being exposed to COVID-19. If there is a conflict, you’ve got to resolve that.
4. Administer a road test. Check for acuity, decision-making and agility. Everyone’s skills are rusty because, in the past year, they haven’t been doing the same work they did for years.
5. Train all drivers regarding new PPE routines. The processes for managing passengers in public places have changed during the pandemic.
6. Review policies on loading luggage, boarding and alighting the bus.
7. Review procedures on handling difficult passengers.
8. Update all communication procedures and phone numbers.
9. Have each driver test on ELD, camera, and telematic hardware and software.
10. Review all procedures for routing, road construction, venue parking, dropoff/pickup, and loading. This is especially important if your business has taken on new business, routes or customers.
Lancer and UMA will team up for three hours of driver training at the EXPO on April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon EST. This will be a virtual program that will be available to all registrants and online. It’s geared to new and experienced drivers, and will cover several topics.