Thousands of schools and academies across the UK already benefit from access to their own transport. The introduction of finance and contract hire plans has allowed budgets to be managed more easily and involve less of a need for fundraising and support activities prior to a large capital outlay. But before you start your quest, there are some questions you need to consider and perhaps more importantly answers you need to know before you buy.
What is the best minibus to buy?
There is plenty of choice for the buyer but the answer is a little easier. Choose the minibus that is within your budget and best meets the needs of your organisation. Assess your transport requirements for today as well as in the future when considering your purchase. Seek advice from specialist independent minibus suppliers, they often offer the most flexible solutions providing tailor made minibuses for organisation. They can also provide practical and impartial advice on the best size, seating layout, type and manufacturer for your particular requirements.
Who will be able to drive the minibus?
Current licence holders showing B category can only drive a minibus up to 3500kg in weight (unless the minibus is modified for the carriage of disabled persons, when the gross weight may be as high as 4250kgs) and must be over 21 and have had their driving licence for a minimum of two years. However, new licence holders passing their test after 19th January 2013 will only be allowed to drive a vehicle with up to eight passenger seats and the vehicle must not weigh more than 3500kg.
Will you require mobility access?
For many schools and academies occasional wheelchair/mobility access will be part of their buying criteria. Specialist suppliers can offer custom build solutions; finished in colours and livery of your specification. These new minibuses may even have the option of removable seating depending on the supplier. Allowing even greater flexibility, providing wheelchair space or additional luggage areas as and when required.
New or used minibus?
If a new minibus is out of the budget then a used vehicle may be the only option. However, they can be exceptionally good value. Specialist minibus suppliers often contract their minibuses to schools and academies and at the end of the plan will take back the vehicle into stock. These vehicles often have low mileage and full service histories with the supplier. The minibuses are then fully refurbished prior to sale and normally offered with a 12-month warranty. Some suppliers will even transport the vehicles for demonstration on site if required.
What is the best way to finance the school minibus?
To assist with your purchase there is now a wide choice of finance options to choose from – including Lease and Purchase Plans as well as outright purchase. Contract Hire is a popular choice for many academies, allowing a fixed monthly rental to be set aside and with the exception of fuel and insurance, no additional costs are required. Depending on your supplier your minibus will normally be maintained and serviced by them for the period of the plan providing extra peace of mind.
For further information or to arrange a demonstration call Red Kite Vehicle Consultants Limited on 01202 827678 or visit www.redkite-minibuses.com