“A safe and reliable minibus can be an invaluable resource for a school or college”

That is the opening of the statement on school owned minibuses provided by Hampshire Local Authority.  It is clear and to the point and it is unlikely that anyone involved in education would want to disagree.

As such the statement is unremarkable – although it is particularly interesting that the Authority has chosen to write “safe and reliable” at the very start of the document. 

Such an assertion – that the minibus must be safe and reliable in order to be an invaluable resource – is hardly controversial but the fact is that it still needs saying for the simple reason that there are a number of school minibuses in use which are anything but safe and reliable.

The reason for this is not hard to see.  Indeed one only has to look at news stories in local papers which mention school minibuses to understand the situation some schools have got themselves into.

The fact is that most school minibuses are purchased after various dedicated parents and supporters of the school have worked hard to raise the money to buy the bus.

Surely nothing can be wrong with such laudable activity!  And indeed there isn’t anything wrong with fundraising to buy a minibus – until the bus starts showing signs of wear and tear. 

For then the problems can really begin, as it would seem embarrassing to the point of being heartlessness for the school to start raising money all over again to pay for a major overhaul for the bus.  Indeed even a complete set of new tyres might have to be delayed if there is no money available in the budget.

Sadly, the fact is that many schools that do buy a minibus after a huge amount of hardwork by supporters of the school, tend to under-estimate the cost of maintaining the bus once it is over a few years old. 

They then get to the stage where there is neither money to pay for the repairs and maintenance needed, nor the funds to buy a new bus.

However there is a way around the issue, and that is for the school to lease the bus.  In this way the cost of the maintenance of the bus is known week by week, month by month and year by year.  These costs can be built into the school’s budget, and so never come as a surprise.

Better still, everyone knows that when the lifespan of the bus comes to an end a new lease can be taken on, meaning that as and when it wants to, the school can deal with the issue of the aging bus.  Meanwhile the school’s fundraising efforts can be centred elsewhere on other much needed equipment.

If you would like to know more about our leasing options take a look at our website.

Alternatively call us on 01753 859944 or email us at minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk

What would you do if the cost of minibus repair was more than the value of the minibus?

Although it is difficult to find someone who would admit it, when a vehicle has an accident that will cost more than half the cost of the vehicle to repair, insurance companies tend to write the vehicle off.

Generally speaking, many of us do that when our own vehicle has one breakdown too many.  It gets to the stage where there just doesn’t seem any point in going on with the old car, so it is written off, and a new vehicle brought in.

Of course that approach only works if you have the money to buy the new vehicle.  Or if you have been leasing the vehicle.

For this is where vehicle leasing comes into its own.  If your lease deal includes the arrangement whereby the leasing company also services and maintains the vehicle, then the problem is theirs. 

When the vehicle gets too old, they have the job of finding you a new one.  And as for when we think about minibuses, this is pretty much the best solution.  

Put another way…

You drive the minibus, the leasing company does the maintenance.

An unexpected problem occurs, the leasing company sorts it.

The minibus ages somewhat, the leasing company offers to supply a new one.

It is, to my mind, the most efficient and effective method of running a school minibus.  There is no question of having to ask generations of parents to run marathons and climb mountains in order to raise money.  

There is no long delay in getting a replacement bus when needed.  There is no thought of the vehicle suddenly being unavailable because of breakdown or accident.  You just keep using the minibus.

For more information take a look at our website.  Alternatively call us on 01753 859 944 and we’ll talk you through the different options.