Tram driver pay

notadriver

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Tram driver pay seems to be the lowest in the public transport sector - lower than buses that operate alongside them in some cases. HGV companies are offering very large incentives to join - £5000 in some cases.

Can anything be done to increase the pay of tram drivers who have a specialist skill set ? Is it still worth becoming a tram driver instead of going HGV driving ?
 
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WatcherZero

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For the most part you are considered a road driver and the pay reflects that, HGV drivers get extra to reflect their work hours and potential long absences from home but a national shortage of HGV drivers (primarily due to European workers going home after Brexit and the government not considering it a job worthy of granting an immigration visa) has led to a lot of recruitment incentives being offered.
 

Busaholic

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For the most part you are considered a road driver and the pay reflects that, HGV drivers get extra to reflect their work hours and potential long absences from home but a national shortage of HGV drivers (primarily due to European workers going home after Brexit and the government not considering it a job worthy of granting an immigration visa) has led to a lot of recruitment incentives being offered.
There are plenty of videos on Youtube expressing what to me, a total layman, seem pretty cogent explanations as to how the calamitous situation has arisen in the HGV sector. In addition to the reasons you cite are pay freezes for years, drivers getting spotchecked by police on weight etc, matters over which they may have no control, inability to sit driving tests and large costs associated with them anyway, and explosion of home delivery meaning more drivers needed. There are apparently c 80,000 people with HGV licences and U.K. addresses currently choosing not to drive for various reasons.
 

WestRiding

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Do the drivers on Sheffield Supertram get more now they go onto heavy rail from Tinsley to Parkgate via Rotherham Central?
 

notadriver

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Do the drivers on Sheffield Supertram get more now they go onto heavy rail from Tinsley to Parkgate via Rotherham Central?

i believe it’s £1.50 an hour more. Nothing compared to what heavy rail drivers get on those lines.
 

philthetube

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Having watched forward while travelling on Blackpool trams, driving those is one job I would not consider, I am on edge as a passenger watching all the idiots around the tracks.
 

507 001

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The wage also depends on which system. I know we (Metrolink) are paid a fair whack more than say Sheffield, and a huge amount more than Blackpool.

I wouldn’t get out of bed for the Blackpool salary.
 

Fylsie

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The wage also depends on which system. I know we (Metrolink) are paid a fair whack more than say Sheffield, and a huge amount more than Blackpool.

I wouldn’t get out of bed for the Blackpool salary.
I get that seeing as you live and work in greater Manchester with a bigger network and higher fares.

However blackpools a place with high unemployment and also a lot of work that is highly seasonal so coupled with that as well as the cheaper fares to reflect the service the team does it does offer a stable wage and job
 

507 001

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I get that seeing as you live and work in greater Manchester with a bigger network and higher fares.

However blackpools a place with high unemployment and also a lot of work that is highly seasonal so coupled with that as well as the cheaper fares to reflect the service the team does it does offer a stable wage and job

The area being one of high unemployment doesn’t make it right to pay a pittance though does it?
 

Fylsie

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The area being one of high unemployment doesn’t make it right to pay a pittance though does it?
To you it may be a pittance but they are paying accordingly for a network which is only 11 miles long and doesn't really do much in terms of area served except bring people from Fleetwood to Blackpool and then some jollys along the prom.

I suppose when they start doing some sort of smart card tap in/out and they reduce conductors from 2 to 1 maybe they can pay a bit more at someone else's expense then
 

notadriver

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Blackpool being one of the most iconic seaside resorts should be very busy. In fact I remember tram after tram being full up. As for the 11 miles long comment - network length shouldn’t determine pay. Waterloo and city line tube drivers on the tube do a shorter route and are paid very well. It concerns me when a tram line is seen as having this kind of leisure status, that it’s treated more like an amusement park ride (and with wages to match)
 

Robertj21a

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Blackpool being one of the most iconic seaside resorts should be very busy. In fact I remember tram after tram being full up. As for the 11 miles long comment - network length shouldn’t determine pay. Waterloo and city line tube drivers on the tube do a shorter route and are paid very well. It concerns me when a tram line is seen as having this kind of leisure status, that it’s treated more like an amusement park ride (and with wages to match)
The pay will partly relate to the difficulty (or not) of recruitment. Blackpool tends to have higher unemployment than, say, Manchester or Croydon, so pay rates can be lower.
 

TravelDream

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I wouldn’t get out of bed for the Blackpool salary.

I just Googled the salary and my jaw dropped.
It works out to be about £10.40 an hour.
The article is from about a month ago, though the salary seems like it's from the 1990s.

Quote:
''Those who want to apply should have a full car driving licence with no more than six points, and you should have been driving regularly for more than 12 months.
Applicants will need to pass a medical and a series of assessment tests. Those who are successful will then commence a five-week training programme.
The advert adds: "The successful candidates will consistently deliver the highest standards of driving, providing a safe, secure and comfortable travel experience for all customers whilst showing due care and consideration for all other road users. You promote the company’s image and reputation by providing up to date information about services and facilities to customers."
The roles are for 37 hours a week, with the first shift starting at 4.30am and the last at 1.45am.
The salary for the job is being advertised as between £19,259 and £20,355.''
 

notadriver

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The pay will partly relate to the difficulty (or not) of recruitment. Blackpool tends to have higher unemployment than, say, Manchester or Croydon, so pay rates can be lower.

but there are heavy rail depots in the area including a depot at Blackpool paying far higher salaries. In fact a train conductor is paid more than a Blackpool tram driver.
 

Dieseldriver

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Blackpool being one of the most iconic seaside resorts should be very busy. In fact I remember tram after tram being full up. As for the 11 miles long comment - network length shouldn’t determine pay. Waterloo and city line tube drivers on the tube do a shorter route and are paid very well. It concerns me when a tram line is seen as having this kind of leisure status, that it’s treated more like an amusement park ride (and with wages to match)
Worth mentioning that Waterloo and City line trains are actually driven by Central Line Drivers, they don’t solely drive on the WC line.
 

507 001

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To you it may be a pittance but they are paying accordingly for a network which is only 11 miles long and doesn't really do much in terms of area served except bring people from Fleetwood to Blackpool and then some jollys along the prom.

I suppose when they start doing some sort of smart card tap in/out and they reduce conductors from 2 to 1 maybe they can pay a bit more at someone else's expense then

It may only be 11 miles long but they also have one of the longest and busiest pedestrianised areas in the country; the promenade. Let’s not forget that up until 2015, NET was only around 9 miles long, and didn’t have anything like the promenade to contend with. Even now it’s only 20 miles.

I’m sorry, but you simply can’t tell me that they don’t deserve the same wage as Nottingham or Sheffield drivers at the very least. And that’s before we even get onto the fact that Nottingham and Sheffield drivers are underpaid!

Just because somebody lives in a poor area does not mean they shouldn’t be paid market rate for their job.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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What would happen if Blackpool drivers were paid more?

There would be many more applicants. They would spend money locally. What else?

I should not like to be a tram driver in Blackpool even for $$$$$.
 

trebor79

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There are plenty of videos on Youtube expressing what to me, a total layman, seem pretty cogent explanations as to how the calamitous situation has arisen in the HGV sector. In addition to the reasons you cite are pay freezes for years, drivers getting spotchecked by police on weight etc, matters over which they may have no control, inability to sit driving tests and large costs associated with them anyway, and explosion of home delivery meaning more drivers needed. There are apparently c 80,000 people with HGV licences and U.K. addresses currently choosing not to drive for various reasons.
There have been labour shortages for nearly a decade in the road haulage industry. The introduction of CPD resulted in most of the part-time and semi-retired drivers packing in completely. Fine (sort of) when there's a pool of people to bring in as new permanent drivers, but very little slack. I used to organise delivery of around 20,000te per day of agricultural produce to a processing facility as part of my job, and it was noticable how hauliers just couldn't respond (in either direction) to fluctuations in our demand after CPC came in. They just didn't have access to people who could drive a few hours for them if needed.

Brexit and the overreaction to COVID have compounded the situation, as the pool of new recruits has disappeared and the infrastructure to train and test them has been dysfunctional at best for 18 months.
Tricky. Mass exodus of drivers and no one to replace them on even a short term emergency basis.
 

geoffk

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I'm also reading that bus drivers are being attracted to retrain as HGV drivers, indeed the road haulage industry seems to be actively trying to recruit them. Apparently there is a ready supply of HGV drivers from the pool of bus and coach drivers who are not gainfully employed due to the drop in use of public transport and foreign holiday coach trips! I wasn't aware that tram drivers' pay was way below that of heavy rail.
 

samuel791

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Do the drivers on Sheffield Supertram get more now they go onto heavy rail from Tinsley to Parkgate via Rotherham Central?
£27k instead of £25k. We're on £14.03 per hour under 37hrs and £21.06 over 37hrs Sun-Sat.

Job isn't what it was and why of the original 24 that started on TramTrain, less than 10 remain. I myself leave in 3 weeks time for a new career...

To be honest the pay is decent and in terms of location for Sheffield and Yorkshire in general, is a decent wage. It's the job that's mind numbingly boring and you really need to love your own company!
 

geoffk

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It's also only certain drivers too, not all drivers are qualified to operate over the Network Rail section.
Surely it would help flexibility if they all were. There must have been occasions when a non-NR trained driver was the only one available and he/she had to terminate at Meadowhall. Seems we have had a serious shortage of all types of professional driver for a while, now coming to a head because of Brexit and Covid.
 
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Vespa

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The advert adds: "The successful candidates
The roles are for 37 hours a week, with the first shift starting at 4.30am and the last at 1.45am.
The salary for the job is being advertised as between £19,259 and £20,355.''
I get far more than that in my current 7.5t job with more sociable hours.

That said I used to be a volunteer vintage tram driver in a museum and know about all the safety stuff that goes with it, driving for a hobby is quite different from driving for a living, you need to earn enough to put bread on the table and live comfortably, Blackpool tram driver salary wouldn't tempt me to relocate and give up a lot of workplace grandfather's rights, benefits and seniority a few years short of planned retirement.


On another tangent looking at the wider scope of the transport industry as a whole...

My workplace is actively recruiting with free in house training thrown in, we havenoticed a drop in driver's since CPC, Brexit many with 7.5t grandfather's right licences are being aged out and retiring, Covid has put the spanners in the works as well,
I have never been tempted to move to HGV as you drive stupid hours, forced to divert off the motorways when there's roadworks, you need to watch for low bridges on A roads in the dark and if you run out of hours you're stuck halfway across the country with time critical loads in the back for an extra £7,000 on top of my current salary, it's just not worth it, having a life is more important.

In the wider haulage industry, a lot of this is down to poor pay, you got the same money stacking shelves european drivers willing to work for less, being treated poorly by employers, DVSA fining you, CPC, it didnt have a good image and people don't realise that if drivers stops delivering in 3 days shelves will start to empty, 1 week you will have nothing, 2-3 weeks rioting in the street and panic buying, the Army Logistics Corps is on standby to fill the gaps if it gets that bad.
 
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Starmill

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Housing in Blackpool is very notably cheaper than in Manchester. The financial position of Blackpool Transport is not particularly strong either. The role is underpaid, as large amounts of public sector work is, but there's still just enough to attract people to it.
 

the sniper

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Is there much movement of Drivers between tram operators? Such as Drivers moving from Blackpool to Manchester for the higher wage?

I know there's a steady flow of staff moving from trams to the railway, though not necessarily to mainline Driver. I think most of the ex-tram drivers I know are currently Guards.
 

507 001

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Is there much movement of Drivers between tram operators? Such as Drivers moving from Blackpool to Manchester for the higher wage?

I know there's a steady flow of staff moving from trams to the railway, though not necessarily to mainline Driver. I think most of the ex-tram drivers I know are currently Guards.

In a word, no. I know of one driver from Metrolink who had worked at Blackpool in the distant past. He’s now a Mainline driver.

Incidentally, when Metrolink drivers move to the big railway, it tends to be as drivers. In the time I’ve been here I’ve known four people move over as guards, and about 5-10 times that amount as Drivers.
 

the sniper

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In a word, no. I know of one driver from Metrolink who had worked at Blackpool in the distant past. He’s now a Mainline driver.

Incidentally, when Metrolink drivers move to the big railway, it tends to be as drivers. In the time I’ve been here I’ve known four people move over as guards, and about 5-10 times that amount as Drivers.

Interesting. Makes sense regarding driving/Guard. I imagine that'll be influenced by the route of progression and mixed nature of the Driving role in some tram operations, I think most of the guys I know have also done a 'conductor'/TTE/RPI style role on the trams. And the inclination of individual TOCs. I presume most Metrolink drivers have only ever been drivers?
 

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