Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - Flat in Fifth
School is considering a number of options for transporting kids on field trips, swimming lessons, away sports fixtures what have you.

Current options in no particular order are:-

1) School (probably Friends Assoc'n) owned and operated minibus driven by members of staff.

2) Coach hired from reputable company together with professional PCV licensed driver.

3) Parent and staff volunteers using their own vehicles. (only on odd occasions admittedly, only for small parties and shortish distances when hiring a coach is possibly uneconomic)

So I guess we are looking at either option 1, or option 2, or a combination of 2&3 as appropriate.

Take it that option 1 gives a cost saving over option 2 (but not that significant in my opinion) what does the team think?

Critical questions which should be asked are:- ?




Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - Mark (RLBS)
Think of the worst cases...

3) Parents and Staff Volunteers carrying children (not their own) on official school trip in their own car. An acccident happens and people are hurt. There is then discovered and previously unknown but contributory mechanical fault with the car, a problem with a driving licence or insurance etc.

Never mind someone being careless, dangerous, drunk, whatever.

I cannot imagine that is a situation to even risk occurring.

1) As per 3) but the school gets to take all responsiblity for insurance, mechanical faults or licence or driving issues. Not just a case of responsibility, but are they also really like to maintain an infrequently used vehicle to the correct standard ?

2) Clearly the answer, provided that the financial case is not horrible.
Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - cabsmanuk
The school at which I was a governor has 3 LDV 15 seater minnibusses and are maintained to the same standards as the local authority requirements.
Before anyone is allowed to drive one they are tested by the local authority,not quite to PSV standards but to an acceptable standard non the less.
Some teachers/parents do fail the test!

The minnibuses are well used and can be shared with other schools in the area to spread costs. They are insured through the local authority.

As far as parents/staff using their own cars are concerned, consider your child being driven by the worst driver you know.

If you intend to use them abroad then check out the driver and insurance requirements.

Keep upright

Chris
Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - John S
Fif

Minibus option has some benefits, as it keeps the group together and needs fewer drivers. However, depending on trip distance a second driver may be a benefit, as they can also keep order in the coach, rather than the driver having to do this!

Watch the licence requirements. There are age restrictions for driving 15 seaters, and those who have recently passed a car test (can't remember the exact date, c1997/98 onwards?) are not licenced to drive 15 seaters I believe. Those who passed before that date can drive them on a car licence though. How do you check the driving skills of volunteer drivers, though, without upsetting them????

The coach hire is the best option for large parties and longer distances. Not necessarily more expensive as you're not paying the standing charges on the school's vehicle. It really depends on the trip distances and frequencies envisaged.

If you go to option 3, worth checking insurance details of drivers first.

Regards

John S
Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - Flat in Fifth
Thanks for the views guys, these are in line with my own opinions, but it is nice to have one's prejudices confirmed. Guess my original wording showed that.

As you might expect option 3, parents cars was always in a poor 3rd place, well more like 33rd if I'm honest.

The other year was persuaded, much against my better judgement, to drive half the netball team to an away fixture. Oh my giddy aunt, nevere never never again. That was despite fully engaging the ear flaps we chaps have when female natterings are encountered. All you married lot know *exactly* what I mean.

Cabsmanuk's views are worthwhile and it might be interesting to question just how thorough the maintenance and driver testing standards will be and might focus certain minds as to responsibilities. Have to say that the behaviour of the little brats can be so outrageous that to ask the staff to teach, keep control and drive might just be too much. However the point is taken that ready availability of vehicles might open up other opportunities.

For me the coach option is the best and worth the extra but I would be wanting to insist that in the contract award to the tendering firms there is a cast iron no subcontracting clause.

Reason is that I recall a fatal accident where a coach from a reputable firm overturned. The investigation showed that it was due to poor maintenance, the front brake shoes hadn't been in contact with the drums for ages, the rears not being much better and all the brake wear indicators were seized.

What made it worse though was that the coach firm had subcontracted the job to a self employed driver, who had then personally hired the coach from the original firm. Sort the liabilities out of that lot.

Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - HF
For me the coach option is the best and worth the
extra but I would be wanting to insist that in the
contract award to the tendering firms there is a cast iron
no subcontracting clause.
Reason is that I recall a fatal accident where a coach
from a reputable firm overturned. The investigation showed that it was
due to poor maintenance, the front brake shoes hadn't been in
contact with the drums for ages, the rears not being much
better and all the brake wear indicators were seized.
What made it worse though was that the coach firm had
subcontracted the job to a self employed driver, who had then
personally hired the coach from the original firm. Sort the liabilities
out of that lot.


This is a REAL problem when dealing with school transport.

I have no other option but to send my eldest to school via a privately-run but school-endorsed coach company.

I have no idea how well the vehicles are maintained, but there are frequent breakdowns and more than a fair share of 'minor' accidents, with the maybe 9 or 10 coaches that are used by my child's school.

I've tried complaining after several incidents, ranging from my son being left stranded miles away from home, to verbal abuse from the driver etc etc etc.

However, since most parents seem to be prepared to 'put up and shut up', everything I say falls on deaf ears, and I am seen to be the trouble-maker.

Oh, and by the way, I would NOT be happy to allow other parents to drive my kids around, unless I knew the person and felt I could trust them.
HF
Self Drive minibus vs hired coach vs !? - Dave_TD
The company I work for provides some school transport to the County Council. We drivers all have to be Form X cleared, ie no convictions or record of any problems or incidents in the past likely to make us a danger to our passengers, fit and proper person etc etc. This is in addition to the condition that we only use plated private hire vehicles (which are then subject to strict and frequent testing, as well as random spot checks) with full public liability insurance cover.
I would definitely say your best option would be to contract out your transport, hopefully you can locate a travel firm with both coaches and minibuses, which would give you more flexibility over passenger numbers. Also you would have (hopefully) professional, experienced drivers, as opposed to harassed, distracted, maybe not so experienced or competent teachers or parents.

Dave.

 

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