Interview with Gianni Bechelli, President of Autolinee Toscane
DI RICCARDO BIGI - TUSCANY TODAY
"It was an important takeover, which has few comparisons for its size."
Gianni Bechelli is the president of the company, driving a car that has five thousand employees and that moves hundreds of vehicles in cities and between villages. "The handover was not easy, which came at the end of long disputes," he emphasizes. But now there is a need to look to the future. Purchasing new buses, hiring drivers and staff. And in the future, the transition, at least in metropolitan areas, from diesel to new forms of energy supply. Electricity, hydrogen: "It won't be easy to get there, but the future is that stuff." Let's start with the past: how did these first months go? «Our first concern was to guarantee the service. We have many ideas for the future but in the meantime there was continuity to be given ».
The peak of coronavirus infections was added to the many problems ...
«In November the rise began: we had peaks of 700 people absent at the same time. If we overcame the difficulties it was also thanks to the availability of those who worked in an extraordinary way, both on the vehicles and in the offices. We have tried to secure the key time slots. We also thought that we shouldn't hide this thing, it was right to let the communication through that we were in difficulty. We feared more complaints or protests, but instead people understood and endured the inconveniences ».
Now that things are returning to normal, is there still a shortage of staff? «Let's say we are at the limit. We have summarized all the staff of the previous managers, although not all of them agreed to come with us. We have to approve 22 company contracts, with all their peculiarities, we have continuous relationships with the trade unions. To reach an optimal level, we plan to recruit over 200 people this year. We have already started the procedures, many questions have already arrived One thing that also surprised us because it is normally not easy to find drivers, also due to the costs of obtaining the D license, which not everyone can bear: this will be a question for the future to deal with the institutions ".
Read the whole interview by downloading the file ...