What is the easiest way to ensure that the minibus meets all the legal requirements before going out on the road?

One of the issues that arises with having one or more minibuses in the school is the question of who checks what.

As I have mentioned before in my notes on minibuses, if you lease the minibus, then all the servicing and similar activities can be carried out by the leasing company (which of course means Benchmark Leasing).

But even then the school is not removed from all responsibility. However a well-organised check system can alleviate much of the issue.

For example, if you have a check list for the person who is driving the bus he/she can quickly whizz through the key points on the return of the minibus each day, and tick the boxes to show if he/she had any concerns, if any panel light came on, etc.

The form to fill in might be very simple such as:

  1. Was there an accident or other incident that needs reporting?
  2. Did you use the First Aid Kit or Fire Extinguisher?
  3. Did any warning lights show – if so, what?
  4. Did you have any problem with visibility because of a dirty windscreen or dirty mirrors?
  5. Did anything appear broken or inoperative?
  6. Do you have anything else to report on the well-being of the minibus?

After that the individual in overall charge of the vehicle can have a check list like this and ok each point before the next journey. The key points are…

  1. The road fund licence is valid and visible.  
  2. The Small Bus Permit is visible.
  3. The First Aid Kit is present and contents correct.
  4. The Fire Extinguisher is present and fully operational.
  5. The lights are all working and clean.
  6. The tyres have a minimum tread of 2mm (including the spare).
  7. The oil, brakes, coolant and windscreen washers are all at the right levels and there is fuel for the next journey.
  8. The doors close properly.
  9. The mirrors and windscreen are clean. 
  10. Seat belts are operational.

Now a regular check of those ten items doesn’t take long – especially as modern vehicles all have warning lights telling you if there is anything amiss with the lights, if the windscreen wash is low, etc.

If you find that the bus is in a particularly poor state however, and this has not been reported by the driver who has signed a form to say all is well, then you will know that you really should be talking with the driver, and warning him/her of the responsibilities of the minibus driver.  A driver who flagrantly fails to report a problem twice, is probably not the person you want driving school children around.

But most people do take their responsibilities seriously, especially when aided by a helpful checklist. Such lists can make the whole operation of the vehicle much more efficient and effective as well as ensuring that the minibus does indeed run without mishap for as long as you would wish.

If you are interested in obtaining a new minibus on a lease then please call us on 01753 859944.

Alternatively take a look at our website for more information.