Young people could soon have a wider range of opportunities in the bus and coach sector.

This follows new government proposals to lower the minimum age requirements for long-distance drivers and expedite training.

Roads Minister Guy Opperman has begun a consultation to abolish the current rule which stipulates that 18-20-year-old bus and coach drivers can only drive routes up to 50km.

This is completely different to the unlimited distance that an 18-year-old can steer an articulated lorry, sparking arguments to revise this for coach and bus drivers as well.

The development of more certified drivers could enable bus operators to run additional services and improve reliability, primarily in rural areas where routes tend to be greater in length.

This comes on top of proposals for an immediate start on theory and off-road training for new coach, bus and HGV drivers without waiting for a provisional licence.

However, the existing training standards will still stand.

Roads Minister Guy Opperman said: "This could be a win-win, not only improving job opportunities for those leaving school, but also going some way to continue to ease driver shortages, delivering more reliable bus and coach services and a more resilient supply chain as part of our plan to grow the economy."

National data reveals an estimated shortfall of 6.6 per cent and 13.6 per cent in bus and coach drivers respectively.

The proposed measures could bring economic growth by attracting younger people into transport roles.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport chief executive, Graham Vidler said, "We warmly welcome this consultation on two key proposals championed by CPT to address the challenge of driver shortages faced by the coach and bus sector."

These amendments could be a huge help to family-owned enterprises, such as Stanley Travel.

Andrew Scott, director of Stanley Travel, said: "We fully welcome these proposals which would remove the entry barriers to the industry, help us run more services to provide customers with greater choice."

Declan Pang, RHA director of Public Affairs & Policy, England, said: "We have long supported proposals to attract younger people into the role and address the ageing coach driver workforce which is a barrier to the sector’s growth."