Minibuses Services for Schools: What are the Regulations?
Minibuses are an extremely useful asset for schools which are fortunate enough to be able to use them. They offer both pupils and teachers the opportunity to take part in sports, cultural trips and various other activities which take place all over the UK. That said, when it comes to school minibuses safety is paramount – the safety of children and staff should always be the top priority.
With this in mind, this month, the team at Wyatt Coaches will be offering an outline of the regulations and responsibilities regarding minibuses and their drivers.
What is a minibus and who can drive one?
Firstly, from a legal perspective, a minibus is a motor vehicle with between 9 and 16 passenger seats and is a category D1 vehicle. That is just to say, anyone who holds a D1 license can drive one for hire and reward.
There are, however, circumstances when a driver can drive a minibus who only holds a car (category B) license. These circumstances are ultimately dependent on when the driver in question passed their test and only apply in the UK, not abroad. They are as follows:
- If you passed your category B driving test before 1st January 1997, then you can drive a minibus not being used for hire and reward, since your license covers it. For teachers, this means that staff holding such a license can drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers.
- If you passed after the aforementioned date, then you may drive a minibus only if you have had a license for two years and are over 21, the service is voluntary and you receive no payment apart from out of pocket expenses.
What is hire and reward?
Driving a vehicle for hire and reward simply means that the vehicle is being monetised. That is, payment is being made for the carrying of passengers. However, it’s important to note that hire and reward doesn’t necessarily mean that the driver herself is making a profit, it just means that there is a logical link between payment and the transport provided.
One of the first things to consider if you are a minibus driver, or plan to drive one, is that you are personally responsible for the minibus itself, that is, its roadworthiness. This means that, even if you’re a teacher who has volunteered, if the minibus is found to have any defects by the police after being pulled over, then it is the driver that who will be fined, given points, or even prosecuted. Although this might seem obvious, it’s worth noting that you would be responsible for any road traffic accidents too.
Next to consider is the insurance policy of the minibus. You must make sure that the insurance policy covers the following: 1) all the uses to which the minibus is put; 2) the total weight and number of passengers allowed on the minibus; and 3) the various people who are allowed to drive the minibus.
Wyatt Coaches provide high quality, reliable minibuses for hire with experienced professional drivers. Based in Barnsley, our coaches can comfortably transport you to destinations across the UK, from simple airport runs to big days out, sports team transportation, weddings and more. For further information on our buses, journey quotes or general enquiries, get in touch with our team today – we will be more than happy to help you.