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There is no denying that minibuses play a pivotal role in supplying much needed transportation services throughout the UK. Churches, charitable organisations, and councils routinely use the vehicles as a means of getting people to where they need to go inexpensively. But unfortunately, when it comes to minibus licence and permit questions, there are too many grey areas. A Barrow children’s nursery is finding out first-hand how problematic this is.

Cheeky Monkeys is a nursery that offers after-school and breakfast clubs for kids with parents who work long hours. Both clubs are in addition to the regular nursery services provided. In order to make the clubs more accessible, the nursery has been running a minibus to provide free transportation for up to eight children. That all changed when Barrow Borough Council sent Cheeky Monkeys a letter instructing them to register their minibus and pay the appropriate fees. Another local nursery with four minibuses received an identical letter.

According to the council, the minibuses are an integral part of the businesses of both nurseries and should be registered as private hire vehicle. The associated fees for registration would cost the companies upwards of £1,300 per bus, which would be passed on to parents. What was a free service would instantly become a pay service overnight. Rather than do that, Cheeky Monkeys has decided to take their bus off the road.

Parents who use the nurseries are understandably upset by the news. Some have taken to writing letters to the council expressing their frustrations. MP John Woodstock has also written the council and reminded them that Department for Transport guidance allows some leeway for permitting and licencing where there are grey areas. He believes both nurseries in Barrow fall into that category.

Minibus Licence Questions

Even if the registration question resulted in both nurseries registering their minibuses, there is also the secondary question of licencing. According to the law, a driver does not need a minibus licence when operating a vehicle with no more than 16 passenger seats, as long as that vehicle is not for hire. Obviously, a private hire vehicle does not qualify under the exemption. This seems to suggest drivers working for either nursery would have to have a minibus licence.

Requiring special licences of those drivers would add even more to the cost of running the minibuses. This would put substantial burdens on both companies, as well as their customers. The inevitable result would be the buses being left dormant because it would be too expensive to run them. We sincerely hope that does not happen. We hope Barrow Borough Council can find a more suitable way to rectify the issue.

In the meantime, the HGV Training Centre offers minibus licence training to any professional whose job requires it. The training is just as comprehensive and effective as our HGV, PCV, van, and forklift truck training. All of our training classes are offered at more than 45 facilities around the UK.

Sources:

  1. North-West Evening Mail – http://www.nwemail.co.uk/news/angry-barrow-families-protest-against-minibus-charges-for-nurseries-1.1188955

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