Why are so many school minibuses so old?

The answer is, because they are purchased, not leased.

Now let me explain this a little further.  Leased minibuses can be traded in when the lease comes to an end.  So it is relatively easy to move on to the next lease, which obviously avoids the issue of thinking about how one might obtain a large amount of cash to buy the next bus.

But schools which buy minibuses can run into even greater difficulties than this.

Imagine this very common scenario.  The school decides that a minibus would be helpful, and for four years the PTA, ably and willingly supported by the staff of the school, work to raise money through everything from sponsored events to huge car boot sales.

Eventually after four or five years the money has been gathered.  Any short fall (which can occur because of the rise in the cost of vehicles during the fund raising period) is made up by the school, or through one final appeal, and then the bus is purchased.  Everyone is happy.

Now it would be quite inappropriate (and indeed probably doomed to failure) if the school started its collection and money raising process again for the next bus, the following year.  But in fact if the newly purchased minibus is not going to be run into the ground, this is what is needed.

In effect fund raising for the next minibus generally doesn’t start until the bus actually needs replacing – when it is about five years old.   But it takes five more years to raise the funds, and so that opens the door to the school spending a fortune trying to maintain a ten year old bus on the road, at the end of the period.

Further, most schools find that it is incredibly difficult to raise money for a replacement, as opposed to raising money for something that is new.   “Raising money for a minibus?” asks the put-upon parent.  “I thought you already had one…”

Such a questioning raises doubts, and these open up the realisation that by the time the next bus is purchased that parent’s children will have left the school.

So the problems mount, and in the end most schools realise that buying the second minibus is much, much harder than buying the first – and that was tough enough.

Which is why leasing is becoming ever more popular as a way of getting a replacement minibus.  Buying another new one is, for many schools, just not a viable option.  Handing back the old bus and leasing a new one is a lot, lot easier.

You can find more information on our leasing options on our website.

Alternatively, please do call us on 01753 859944 or email us at minibus@benchmarkleasing.co.uk for more information.