The quest for a minibus

minibus convoy.JPG The last six weeks has seen a steady stream of emergency type calls to the Youth Adviser hot desk. One of the recurring “emergencies” has been “Help, we need to get hold of a minibus to get to ………” Sadly I have no minibuses in my youth-work arsenal (although I’ve always wanted one I could trick up into an A Team type stylee).
Getting a minibus at the last minute is extremely difficult short of a commercial hire (TVR are my recommendation) but in preparation for next year here’s the Youthblog Minibus Scrounging Algorithm:
1. Minibuses are expensive so owners only lend them out to people they know/trust.
2. Build a relationship with the local School, Voluntary Youth Service or Community group that has a minibus.
3. Ensure that you have a driver that has a D1 on their licence and has completed whatever the local authority certification is.
4. When you ask to borrow a bus be professional about it! Either write or ask (but if you ask follow it up with a letter). You need to detail your organisation, the event that you are taking a group to and why you are asking. Communicate that you have a suitably qualified driver who also has X years of experience at working with young people. Be very specific about when it will be collected and returned. Enquire as to what they’d charge so that you can build the figure into your budget. It’s also worth mentioning that “You appreciate them looking at this request for help from a community group”
5. If you get the bus then you now have a chance to shine. Do everything as stated in your letter AND return the BUS shinier, cleaner, tidier than its been since new to show your gratitude. (I was so embarrassed once on reading the log book of a minibus belonging to a local school that a local ‘christian’ group had written in the condition column, “Returned filthy as found!)
6. Write and thank the lending body!

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8 Replies to “The quest for a minibus”

  1. The D1 thing is quite critical these days. We have our own bus and it is amazing how many folk forget to check their license for this.
    Thankfully I passed a while back and have one automatically!

  2. I heard of a youth worker who picked up a school’s brand new minibus, and promptly drove it into a fence with the caretaking watching. Oops.

  3. Many local authorities (so therefore statutory Youth Services, Schools etc.) require a driver to have passed a mini-bus test to use their vehicles. So it is not just a matter of finding an friendly organisation… you also face the prospect that having taken the test and borrowed a bus.. you now owe them a favour and might well end up being called on regularly to drive for them… and if you want to keep them friendly you can’t exactly say no, can you?

  4. Mark,
    Yep your right about local “test” and it is already down there in point 3. I’ve never been asked to drive for another organisation as a result but the possibility does exist ….. however you then have great odds of borrowing the bus whenever you need it.

  5. Hey Mr Youthwork Blogger 😉
    Sorry missed that bit in point 3… You are right with the last point but I have experienced through a couple of organisations (School and Statutory Youth Service) that once you take their test you are on “the list” and I have in the past had quite a few calls along the lines of…”um, we have a trip and we can’t get cover for a teacher/haven’t got the budget for a sessional worker to drive… any chance…?” I’m not saying you shouldn’t go down this route, but my experience is that it may be cheaper (and easier e.g. insurance etc) in the long run to hire.

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