Category Archives for "In the News"

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.

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.

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

September 17, 2016

Minibus driving safety tips

minibus insurance safety tips

Minibus driving safety tips

Minibus drivers have a challenging job which exposes them to multiple risks. They often put in extended work hours and have to drive their minibus safely in different climatic conditions. Safety measures should therefore be a top priority for all minibus drivers. Here are a few safety tips for new and experienced minibus drivers. Being preventative will reduce avoidable accidents which in turn will reduce your minibus insurance premium.

Maintain your minibus and always inspect your minibus before hitting the road

You should be familiar with the minibus assigned to you and ensure that you take care of it as though it were your own. You should also inspect your minibus regularly. Before embarking on any trip, ensure that you inspect it, checking the brakes, oil, water, and lights among other important parts to ensure that they are in the best working condition or level.

Reduce the blind spots

Driving a minibusc compromises your vision of areas such as the back of the minibus and immediately below the windshield. Statistics indicate that many minibus-related accidents are caused by other vehicles approaching these blind spots. To reduce the occurrence of such accidents, it is important to increase your vision all round your minibus. This can be done by extra mirrors installed at different angles.

Don’t over speed

Drive the minibus at a safe speed especially at high traffic areas and when turning. The weight of the minibus has an impact on its momentum so you should always slow down well in advance when braking and turning. You can also enhance your safety and that of other road users by not tailgating. Keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Use signals

Utilize all the signals you have. This includes lights and hand signals to alert other drivers of your intentions. You can also use stickers or paint warnings on the sides and rear of the minibus so that other drivers are informed to take necessary caution.

Avoid distractions

Because of the long-distance travel, many drivers might want to have entertainment and extra pillows to make their trip more comfortable. However, these can be a source of distraction. GPS, laptops and mobile phones should not be used while driving. Stereos can also cause poor focus on the road.

Check weather forecasts

Bad weather is a major risk factor for any driver. Heavy rains, fog and snow increase safety risks because they can affect visibility and make the roads slippery. To enhance safety, always check the weather forecasts each time you are plan your trip so that you can take appropriate measures to avoid driving in bad weather. Learn more by visting https://www.dvsalearningzone.co.uk/

For more tips and  advice follow our 10 ways that I can reduce my minibus insurance guide.

June 26, 2016

A Minibus is the first Autonomous Vehicle AV

Olli Self Driving Minibus

Times are a changing, we have reached a pivotal stage in the the transport sector the battle between driver and computer controlled autonomous vehicles ( AVs). Would you jump on board a driverless Driverless minibus? What would the future be like would it cause more congestion on our roads, a move from the city to nearby urban locations. Will the idea of single auto ownership be a thing of the past with transports costs shared based on usage. Has artificial intelligence reached that stage we can safely drive and negotiate the unknown. When they talk will it make sense? Lets hope so. Cars and minibuses lose money so could this be the future pay as you go?

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So many questions that will soon be answered with the pilot of Olli by an Arizona based automobile tech company. Add to this that it is a 3 d printed and can accolades up to 12 passengers and incorporate Watson ( IBM cloud-based technology ) to help plan routes, answer questions and give advice to visitors on the best place to dine around Washington harbor. The self driving shuttle can be hailed by Smartphone, however it will at all times be monitored by a human from a remote . It is currently seen as an additional form of transport or minibus taxi service.

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One one side these could congestion in cities and their suburbs, the big plus a network of shared AV’s could reduce motoring costs for all of us if desired. Commuting in an AV for day to day activities and your personal auto reserved for family trips, annual holidays or other important occasions when personal transport is the most suited from of transportation. Some have herald it as a solution for that getting to or from the mass transit system the so called last mile problem. The is now a reality with places like Holland, China and Beverley hills looking a t a wide range of transport solutions using future high tech technology making the real of self – driving automobile and minibuses a day to day reality.

Like all new technologies the effect on the job market must be considered , how this effect the many bus and minibus drivers , could it become a a monopoly letting operators charge expensive fees? It will happen but there are many questions that we as citizens, cities and companies must consider to ensure no one losses out as we march or should I say drive forwards. Olli will be first of many emerging solutions to the complexity of transportation needs in crowded cities and urban tranquility.

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