Eamonn Turley

Author Archives: Eamonn Turley

January 24, 2019

Minibus compliance course

minibus driving course

To help the public in operating a minibus correctly and legally there are minibus compliance courses. The newest one is the Castle Driver Training Minibus Compliance Course which started in September of 2018. This is an ISBA, RAC and RoSPA approved course that is designed to help schools and non-profit organisation in operating their minibuses legally and safely.

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What does the course include?

There are 2 parts to this driver training course. The first part involves the classroom study that is broken down into 4 sections. The second is an onsite assessment of your facility.It may also help to do some online training before embarking on the course by checking out minibus safe driving videos.

Part One the classroom

First section

This is about the legal aspect of operating a minibus on UK roadways. This includes just who can operate the minibus and what must be held by the driver. In legal terms this means the permits and licenses required by the UK Government.

For most operators they must have a category D1 drivers licenses, but there are some B category holders that can operate the minibus. The advice and requirements issued by HM Government can be found here. Also explained is who in the organization is legally responsible for governmental compliance.

Second section

It involves the minibus itself which includes the required safety inspection and their frequency. This includes the daily inspection required before anyone boards the minibus and the weekly checks. Both are done to ensure the vehicle is safe to operate and transport people.

Also discusses is how operating a minibus is different than other types of vehicles.

Third section

Both the drivers and schools responsibilities in operating the minibus are covered. This will make it clear who is liable for what. Also examined are the penalties if one or more areas are not in compliance with the UK governmental regulations.  

Fourth section

The planning and taking of trips is discussed. This includes the actual way to plot out the course and what emergency protocols should be applied to the trip.  


Part Two on-site assessment

After the first part is completed a qualified driving instructor from Castle will go to your facility and inspect safety aspects of your transportation system. This assessment will last on average ½ a day.

This type of minibus compliance course offered by Castle is not required by law, but has real life advantages.

Every organization is required to be in full compliance with the laws and regulation set by the UK Government. By taking this course you can prevent the suspension of minibus operations at your facility because of non-compliance issues. It will also help to prevent fines from being placed on your facility for being in non-compliance.

In December of 2018 the feedback from enrollees of the Castle Driver Training Minibus Compliance Course graded it at a 97% satisfaction rating.

With the completion of this course many insurance companies will also offer a discount on the minibus insurance premium. If you need assistance with the insurance, please call one of our knowledgeable independent insurance brokers who can help you find the policy that is right for your organization.

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January 20, 2019

Best Club Minibus

best minibus club

Best Club Minibus

The best club minibus to be used to transport your group is partially dependent on the number of club members you have. For clubs that own their own minibus you will need cheap minibus insurance. This is also true if you are using an MPV as you club minibus. The insurance will insure that any passengers are fully protected just in case of an accident.

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What is the Right Size minibus for My Club?

Picking the correct size sports club minibus will help to keep the cost of buying, operating and insuring the vehicle down to a minimum. Minibuses can have as few seats as 15 all the way up to 35. It is more economical and safer to have one large minibus than it is to operate several smaller ones. Just in case your club expands, there should be a few seats extra to accommodate the new members when choosing the right size. If you need to buy a new or a second hand minibus that is large maybe these frugal driving tips will belp you lower the fuel costs.

Why is a Minibus Safer than a Van?

It is true vans can accommodate up to 12 passengers, but they were initially designed to transport items for tradesmen. Minibuses were designed solely for the transportation of people. Because of the way a minibus is constructed, the passenger area is designed for maximum safety for them.

  • Minibuses have dual rear wheels which minimizes the possibility of the vehicle rolling over in case of a tire blowout or accident.

  • The passenger compartment is a reinforced steel cage to protect the occupants when the vehicle is involved in an accident.

​Why is a Minibus more comfortable than a Van?

Because the minibus is designed for human transport, the layout of the interior is more accommodating so passengers are more comfortable during the trips.

  • This includes a center aisle instead of an aisle to one side.

  • Bucket seats are also generally used in minibuses where vans have bench seats.

  • On average the ceiling in a minibus is nearly 2 feet higher than in a van.

  • The entry steep is lower on a minibus than a van for easier access.

​What are the Extra Amenities a Minibus has verses a Van?

Both will have air conditioning and a radio, but that is where the similarities end. Minibuses have overhead storage on most models so the seating area is less cluttered and more comfortable. They can also be fitted with flat screen TVs to help keep the occupant entertained on long trips. Many of the minibuses are also equipped with Wi-Fi devices to help keep the passengers connected.

​What Type of Insurance is needed to operate a Minibus?

There is a special minibus insurance policy available to protect not only the vehicle, but also the passengers and their property. Once you have decided on the right size minibus for your club, one of our independent minibus insurance brokers can assist you in finding the right coverage to meet your needs. This makes it possible to have the coverage you needed at the price you can afford.

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March 16, 2018

Buying a second hand minibus

second hand minibus

Are you in the market for a secondhand minibus?

Buying a second hand minibus can be tricky. Similar to a taxi most minuses have not been parked idle in a driveway with the occasional outing to the local supermarket  Instead they out on the road transporting people from home to school and back or clocking up big mileage on group outings. With this in mind it pays to be vigilant when on the lookout for a second hand minibus. We have complied some key indicators to check and be aware of below.

Minibuses come in all shapes and sizes, have you decided on the size required or more important the maximum number of passenger that you will carrying. Deciding on this will help narrow down the search, keep in mind that buying a minibus with more seats than required will result in you paying a higher minibus insurance premium as brokers take number the number of  seats into the premium calculation. For example 9 seater minibus insurance is higher than 7 or 8 seater minivans.

Typical things to look out for 

First Impressions :

Like most things first impression count and keep these in mind during the decision making process. Do you have a friend that is mechanically savvy if so bring him or her along as what looks good on the surface can have serious defaults hiding from view. This may be impractical, but we would still advise when you think that you have found a family minibus get a mechanic to check it out. The mechanic will be able to carry out a comprehensive all round check of both body work and the mechanical parts.

Carpark Meet up

The seller has asked to meet in a car park, ask yourself why ? has the vehicle been stolen? Insist  on going to the owners home to inspect the vehicle

Does it sound just too cheap?

Cheap normally equates to a bargain, but can also be you pay for what you get. Be aware the owner may be trying to offload a minibus that is a waiting disaster that will need constant attention and money spent to keep it up and running.

Fresh Paint job

Paint can cover up underlying bodywork damage, ask yourself and the owner why was it painted.

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March 10, 2018

Best Family Minibus For 2018

ford-tourneo_connect

Best Family Minibus For 2018

Some call it a minibus, others say its micro bus, or even a van. Whatever the name, the various names are as a result of its uniqueness in design. They are basically vehicles with a seating capacity of 1 to 9 passengers. It serves more than just the ordinary uses of a car. From ferrying people to logistics/deliveries, minibuses have since been embraced all over the world. These people carriers do not come cheap and it is worth comparing minibus insurance costs across different manufactures as this  may sway your buying decision.  

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SMMT Ratings

The United Kingdom is on record as one of the manufactures and producers of some of the world’s best vehicles. The UK prides in engineering renowned minibus brands like; Fiat Talento, Nissan NV300, Vivaro, Renaults, Ford Transit, among others. Although the auto market is flooded with various models and makes, the choice to acquire an automotive depends on several factors. Some of these include; purpose of the car, social class of the buyer, financial ability, cost of maintenance, more, and importantly availability of a model.  

Which was the best family minibus in 2017? To answer this, we need to consider a number of factors such as user ratings, number of units produced per year as well as opinion of motor marketers and sellers.  In UK, the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders (SMMT) reported that between January and July 2017, over 210,000 units had been registered. Indeed, the minibus business was recording some of its best performances given that these were just but statistics for a half year. 

When it comes to family minibuses that were ranked highly in terms of acquisition in 2017, majority of the UK based car dealer-websites including honest john featured centered on the Van-based MPVs. The Ford Tourneo Connect topped the list. This van is liked due to its comfort level and ability to serve as a family car. Endowed with a spacious interior, the Ford Tourneo Connect is ideal for a family and their luggage. The van has comfortable seats that are also adjustable by the occupants.

Buying decision factors

The minibus has a low suspension from the ground thus enabling children and people living with mobility disabilities to get in and out of the car with ease. Some come with a carrying capacity of five, while others have been fitted with seven or even nine seats, thus making it an ideal car for a typical family. 

Another advantage of Ford Tourneo Connect is the ability to fit into smaller parking spaces at shopping malls because of its sliding double-sided doors. The generous door space on both sides as well as the hind door makes loading and offloading cargo and other family groceries easier. More so, the vehicle’s average engine capacity makes it to consume comparatively lesser fuel despite covering longer distances. With the increase in the cost of living across world economies, every family would want to save as much as possible but still get the best out the family car in terms of efficiency.

Even though most family minibuses are not the best in aesthetics, the Ford Tourneo Connect proved to have high value in terms of return on investment. It also falls in to one of the lower family minibus insurance categories. A minibus is also reliable for long distances, especially for families going out on trips, camping and wild tours/ vacations. With all these, indeed, the Ford Tourneo Connect had reason to be the best family van for 2017. 

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July 30, 2017

5 Reasons to Buy a Minibus

Minibus Insurance UK

5 Reasons to Buy a Minibus

A minibus gives you ample room to carry passengers along with their luggage without compromising comfort even a bit. They’re designed and especially built to carry passengers safely and comfortably. Most minibuses will allow you to remove their rear seats, enabling you to get seat configurations that you need for your specific needs.

The seats also can be moved in order to accommodate wheelchairs. In addition the minibus can be modified to make it wheelchair friendly, if not already. These are designed for transporting people so little room is left for luggage space. Please keep this in mind as may make sense to buy larger to accommodate luggage for trips and holidays.

Any modifications most likely will invalidate your minibus insurance so do get prior approval from your broker.

1. Size and Purpose

It almost goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway, Minivans are huge. They not only are larger than cars, but interior space within the minivan in which one has to work is extremely flexible. Whether you are transporting your work equipment, or luggage and passengers, minivans are the easy to work with due to the abundance of space and adjustable/stowable seats. This makes them great for any sort of transportation you may need

2. More economical than you may think

The age of small cars is no-doubt upon us. This quite often can leave potential minivan owners weary of their next purchase. While it is true that minivans are not as easy on gas as small cars, they are a lot better than you may realize. It’s a fact that a minivan's fuel economy doesn’t proportionately decline as the size increases. Using a size-to-fuel-economy ratio, a minivan is actually quite easy on gas.

3. A minivan is great for hauling

Typically, when most people are thinking hauling, they are thinking pickup truck. It's not exactly clear where this idea that pickup trucks are the only suitable vehicle when it comes to hauling came from, but this could not be further from the truth. While pickup trucks certainly can get the job done, a minivan tends to be just as useful for these such purposes. Whether you are moving a trailer, or you’re transporting home-improvement cargo, a minivan will stand up to the task for sure.

4. A minivan can easily be made wheelchair accessible

While this may not be an applicable benefit to everyone, minivans are the easiest type of vehicle to modify when it comes to wheelchair accessibility being needed. Whether a friend just needs a ride, or you are considering becoming an Uber driver, there’s no question that wheelchair accessibility will come in handy under several different circumstances.

5. A minivan can easily be made wheelchair accessible

While this may not be an applicable benefit to everyone, minivans are the easiest type of vehicle to modify when it comes to wheelchair accessibility being needed. Whether a friend just needs a ride, or you are considering becoming an Uber driver, there’s no question that wheelchair accessibility will come in handy under several different circumstances.

5 They are reasonable to insure

It’s obvious that the type of insurance policy that you will need to obtain will depend on how it is that you intend to use your minivan. For example, if you are planning to use your minibus purely for private use, then a pleasure use minibus insurance policy will suffice. If you plan on using your minivan to work as a taxi driver, then you will need to have a private hire minibus taxi insurance policy.

We can provide you with comparative quotes for minibus insurance. The purpose will be a determining factor in the costs so please state how you indent to use if other than social and domestic use. 

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April 10, 2017

Tips to Lower Your Minibus Fuel Consumption

Minibus Fuel Costs

Tips on How You Can Lower Your Minibus Fuel Consumption

Fuel prices are rising and it doesn’t appear that that is going to change anytime soon. While there is nothing the average driver can do about this, there are indeed a few ways that you can save on fuel consumption and thus save money. Below are some common sense advice on reducing minibus fuel costs.

Shop around for minibus insurance

Comparing the costs of minibus insurance is the first step to makings savings on minibus insurance. Brokers often have discounts for new customers so when renewal time comes shop around to see what is on offer.

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Observe Speed Limits

Observe the posted speed limit Fuel mileage will decrease rapidly at speeds over 60 mpg. The use of cruise control is recommended in order to maintain a constant speed on the highway. A vehicle that averages 28 miles per gallon at 60 mph, typically will get 27 mpg at 65 mph, and 25 mpg at 70 mph. That said, it’s important to remember that for different type, model, and age vehicles, fuel economy at different speeds will vary.

Keep your tyres inflated

Keep your tyres properly inflated The National Energy Foundation estimates that half of the tyres (50%) of the vehicles on the road today are under-inflated. They say that driving on soft tyres can add an additional 2% to an individual’s fuel bill. Some suggest once a week. Others do it every time they fill up. Get in the habit of checking those tyres!

Air con Advise

Running the A/C Another subject the NEF is well versed on is air conditioning and fuel consumption. Their statistics will show that using your A/C can cause your vehicle to use up to 25% more fuel. Make it a point to not use this luxury unnecessarily. Try switching it off and using the vents instead, and maybe a window or two down a bit. Here it’s worth noting, that if you are travelling at more than 55 mph, it’s most often better to turn on the A/C if it’s too hot, and roll up those windows. The reason being that open windows at high speeds will increase drag and inevitably use more fuel than running your air-con.

Engine Maintenance

Keep That Engine Maintained It’s a fact that under-serviced and inefficient motors will reduce fuel economy by 10% or more. Have your vehicle serviced regularly. Something as simple as a dirty air filter can seriously rob you of your fuel economy. They are not expensive, and easy to change. The same goes for motor oil. Have it changed regularly. Clean oil will reduce the wear that is caused by the friction of the engine’s moving parts.

Weight and Drag

Reduce the weight and reduce the drag Remove things such as carriers, roof racks, and removable seats when they are not being used. Tidy up the boot and remove any items you really don’t need to have in there, like your golf clubs and extra sports equipment. Give some serious thought before adding heavy accessories or wide tyres that will increase your rolling resistance parts.

Petrol Prices

Be wise as you look for the cheapest petrol Make sure you don’t drive far out of your way just to realise a tiny savings on your fuel purchase. Often times, the fuel that you will use to get to the ‘bargain’ station will cancel out any savings.

Steady at the wheel

Avoid aggressive driving It’s a proven fact. Accelerating to and from a stop light and weaving in and out of traffic doesn’t save time. In addition, it wears out components on a vehicle faster such as tyres and brakes. You can raise fuel economy by simply doing away with the quick acceleration and fast braking.

Think again

Whilst some are obvious it is always good to rethink how you can save money on MPV insurance and minibus insurance. 

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January 15, 2017

New VW Minibus

new vw minibus

Volkswagen to Launch All New Minibus in 2020

new vw minibus

Credit: Scott Collie/New Atlas

VW is pushing hard to become the leading manufacturer of all electric vehicles with rumours that they may build their very own mega battery plant to provide the power to run these vehicles. In so doing they are putting distance between them and the recent Volkswagen diesel engine scam. Below we have listed some of the new concepts for their futuristic Kombi minibus come cargo van that have been unveiled to the public at the recent Paris motor show. 

  • The interior will be modular enabling easy conversion from a minibus to a cargo van with front and rear seats folding down to provide additional space. Expected to be able to seat 6 passengers plus driver, or 7 passengers should you select the self drive mode.
VW DashBoard

all new dashboard

  • It will feature an augmented reality dashboard that will project an image that will appear to be in front of the vehicle overlaid with the road ahead.
  • Range it is expected to cover 600 km's on one charge. Charging time is an amazing 30 minutes on either a plugin charging system or via an inductive wireless charging system.
  • Two things that made both the Kombi and original Beetle so popular were their simplicity and affordability. These 2 attributes are missing in this new VW vehicle, but it retains the characteristics of the original Kombi when viewed from the outside.  This will be one amazing minibus that will take a lot of beating.
Old and NEW Kombi VW

Source Volkswagaon

December 22, 2016

Minibus Insurance Average Cost

minibus

What is the average cost of minibus insurance 

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The UK law states that any vehicle on the road must be insured and that includes all possible forms of transport, cars minibuses and private hire taxis to name a few. Mini bus insurance will in general cover damage that could happen to your vehicle and depending on the policy may also provide medical expense cover for parties involved in the accident.

Over time minibuses have gained increased popularity in the private sector, given the current drive quality which is now similar to driving a car plus the the capability to seat from 9 to 16 people in comfort makes the purchase of a minibus in the UK an attractive option over the traditional car.

A mini bus can be used for a variety of purposes - school, social, family or for public hire. Whatever the purpose it is essential that you have the correct level of protection to protect you and your passengers in the event of an accident. Discounts are sometimes available depending on the purpose. Reduced premiums may apply if the mini bus is used for charitable or non profit reasons,

The costs of minibus insurance can be expensive. However, some steps can be taken to reduce the premium costs. Start by providing secure overnight parking and limiting the drivers to a predefined list. It is also worth noting that drivers under 25 can attract a higher premium. By not including unders 25's ​your policy cost will be reduced.

For occasionally minibus use, it may also be worth considering pay as you go insurance. If that is not an option introducing black boxes may lead to a future reduction. If the telemetrics show that the minibus is being driven with care then you may qualify for future discounts.

For operators of more than one minibus or a mixed fleet of minibuses, fleet policies are available and should work out cheaper than insuring vehicles individually. If the intended purpose is for profit as in public or private hire then the insurance specific to that use must be taken out.

Opting for a higher excess should also bring down the cost of insurance. If you are buying a new minibus take time to compare the base insurance costs as these can vary from one manufacturer to another. Also take into account the average costs to repair each vehicle type. A ford minibus for example may be cheaper to ensure than a vehicle that is manufactured abroad. The reason being that replacements parts are less expensive than foreign imports.

As with all vehicle insurance 3 levels of cover are provided by UK underwriters as listed below:

  • Third party cover
  • Third party plus fire and theft protection
  • Comprehensive, which in addition to the former offers cover for your own vehicles and self

Extra such as breakdown cover, windscreen, under body, cover for driving in Europe should also be considered at renewal time to beef up your policy.

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November 19, 2016

Any Driver Minibus Insurance

Any Driver Minibus Insurance

Any Driver Minibus Insurance

Any driver minibus insurance offers obvious advantages, but at the same time will likely increase the cost of your minibus insurance policy. Another option to consider is named driver minibus insurance. Named drivers can normally be any age over 21 to over 75. 

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How many named drivers can I add?

The number of named drivers is normally capped at 3 but does vary from underwriter to underwriter. The condition of a minibus be it a second-hand purchase or a newly purchased one, doesn’t matter in seeking an any driver minibus insurance policy.

It is more important to have coverage the moment a minibus hits the road. There are lot of coverage offers. This can vary from all types of minibuses. It can be a minibus used as a shuttle for a college or university, charity, church, care home of scout group to name a few examples.

Driver minibus insurance policy prospects are often mistakenly issued a van insurance. If one was issued the latter you do not have proper cover. Not having the correct type of cover is the same with not having insurance coverage at all. 

We can provide you or your business with quotes that cover all types of minibuses plus mpv insurance. 

Now going back to online underwriting services. Driver minibus insurance policies varies in coverage. A comprehensive driver minibus insurance may include coverage for theft or third party fires. 

Cover available for both minibuses and MPV's

We not only deal with minibuses we can also provide you with competitive mpv insurance quotes. MPVs can be used for domestic personal use or business, for example providing ahire and reward service

There are also standard negotiable benefits for most minibus insurance policy holders. This may or may not include the following offers. Among the basic benefits are new vehicle replacement, free legal service and advice. A European coverage extension and free emergency helpline to name a few.

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