FINDING volunteer minibus drivers can be tough enough for schools, youth groups and charities – they’re usually good of heart but too busy, too young or too old…
But it’s tougher because unlike the “good old days” when anyone with a car licence could turn their hand to it, the laws changed – as for towing for example – and that’s not enough if the driver passed their test after 1997 and the bus weighs over 3.5 tonnes, as many 16-seaters do.
But Academy Leasing has cracked that problem as a franchisee for Agility Fleet which has come up with a lightweight Peugeot Boxer-based solution providing several 17-seater minibus variants under the 3.5-tonne limit. And Academy Leasing’s light minibus solution is a lesson in saving thousands that could be spent getting a heavier bus.
Academy’s manager Garry Harrison-Lea says it is a great solution saving a lot of money, with the lightweight new minibuses costing under £20,000 and more fuel efficient because of the weight-saving put into the vehicle construction plus the advantage of driver licence flexibility.
Garry and his team have supplied many minibuses to schools and charities nationwide over the years, as well as Lutons, box vans and other converted units with special adaptations such as wheelchair ramps and tail lifts.
Garry says: “The thing is that anyone who passed their car test after 1997 will need a D1 licence for Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) to drive a large minibus, even if they’re not driving for hire or reward, which entails two days for training and test and costs around £900.
“And if you don’t pass first time round, and only 60% do, then the costs double with a retake. And it doesn’t take putting many drivers through the test for it to add up to the cost of a new bus in a year!”
And another bonus of the Agility deal for Academy is that it provides another funding avenue for speedy solutions in addition to Academy’s rapidly expanding strengthened flexibility in funding since becoming part of 1pm plc last summer.
Garry says minibuses are one of Academy Leasing’s many fortes in vehicle funding where their skills and experience cover everything, from all kinds of cars across to all varieties of commercial vehicle – and then there are all the interwoven areas of capital funding for business which can be explored on their new website just launched http://www.academyleasing.com/