In Feb 2013, BUSK launched BENCHMARK, the UK’s first and only completely independent star rating for the minibus and coach industry. Schools, parents and the general public can now identify Benchmark members by the distinctive logo with green stars displayed on their fleets.
It is important to realise that just because a coach operator has a licence does not mean they are operating legally and safely. Every week in the trade press the court reports will back this up.
Operators that flaunt the law put everyone at risk. By not maintaining the fleet safely, they can afford to cut costs and consistently offer cheaper coach hire. Unfortunately, this can put the lives of passengers you have arranged coach transport for at risk. Cheap coach hire can only ever be possible if the transport company is cutting corners such as maintenance, insurance or using casual drivers who may not be Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked or may have lost their driving licence for health reasons or have been disqualified from driving.
Beware of Coach Brokers
A broker has none of this for your protection. They take your booking and money and then immediately pass it to an operator, who may or may not be eligible for BUSK accreditation. Very often they do not operate any vehicles themselves and have no obligation to use a fully licensed and insured operator. There have been several cases of vehicles not turning up on the day because the broker has not handed over the money or indeed gone out of business overnight only to start up again under another title. They usually employ the cheapest operator so that they can make a bigger return.
Please ensure you are speaking to a bona fide operating company. Ask questions.
As a BUSK Benchmark member, Safeguard and Farnham Coaches have been background checked and approved by BUSK to ensure they are safety compliant and only operate to the highest safety standards. All members employ highly trained, reliable and experienced drivers. Additionally, the companies have undergone two independent audits to check how they are run, what systems are in place to safeguard passengers and to what standard drivers are trained. Checks are made whenever a company applies to join and every three years after that. All companies are subject to a random spot check.
BUSK also provides a free and confidential information and advice service for schools. In particular, They can advise on:
- Home to school transport
- Safety on the journey to and from school
- Legal issues
- School trips
- Seat belt legislation/baby, child and booster seats
Click here for a brief video showing how BUSK works to keep coach passengers safe.