Outlined below are a number of typically asked Questions by People looking to get coach hire in the UK.
What size of Coach Hire is there?
Typically coach hire is provided for mini buses, mid sized buses, large coaches and double deckers.
Minibuses are typically 16 passenger seats although there are occasional 14 and 17 seaters.
Mid sized buses are typically 24 seat vehicles for coach hire. There are a smattering of vehicles which have one or two more seats but they are reasonably infrequent. Coach hire does tend to be available for vehicles around the 33/34 seat mark. Typically trips for over 30 people are covered by large coaches (circa 50 seats) as there is very little price differential between those and the 34 seat vehicles.
Large coaches for coach hire in the UK typically are 49 seats (with toilet) or 51/53 seats (without toilet). A small number of double deckers do exist and these range from 65 to 82 seats. Typical configuration of double decker coach hire is 75 passenger seats.
What is the difference between Standard, Executive and Luxury Coach Hire?
Standard, Executive and Luxury are subjective terms and beauty in the coach industry is very much in the eye of the beholder. However below are some of the things you should realistically expect
Standard Coach Hire
Realistically this bus has probably been used on school runs and your expectations should be for nothing more than a roadworthy properly insured vehicle. This vehicle is very unlikely to have on board toilet, aircon, or on board entertainment. At Taxim Minibuses we believe due to the lack of toilet these vehicles should only be used for short distance trips (less than 50 miles).
Executive Coach Hire
For an executive coach we believe it is realistic to expect a certain age limit to the vehicles –say less than 7 years old. Realistically the vehicle should have aircon and all the larger vehicles (49 seat plus) should have on board toilet facilities. Some basic on board entertainment facilities are required.
Luxury Coach Hire
Luxury coach hire is very much about clarifying what you are getting. The coach should not be any more than 5 year old –or it has been fully refurbished.
Availability can be limited on these coaches and you should clarify what is included. This can range from Tables, fridges, drinks/catering facilities, reclining seats, entertainment and hostess service.
What Qualifications and Insurers are required to offer Coach Hire?
Coach hire Operators should be RSA approved. The booker of vehicles should have Public liability insurance.
How are Coach Hire Prices calculated?
Coach Hire prices are derived at by a combination of time, mileage, and vehicle size and vehicle quality. If you choose to have the coach for longer this will cost more. If the trip requires a second driver (RSA regulations) this will also increase the cost of the trip.
The longer the trip higher the fuel and depreciation costs. There are also extra costs for additional drops/pick ups.
How do I get Value for Money with Coach Hire?
The first and most obvious point is that the ‘cheapest’ is not necessarily the best. If you speak to 2 or 3 Companies you should have a ball park feel for what the price is for the trip. Once you have established the ball park you should look to see which coach Hire Company you feel most comfortable with.
When deals seem too good to be true -they usually are.
What are the limits with regards to driver hours when hiring a Coach?
A coach hire may need a second driver when the following is exceeded. The driver must have a break of not less than 45 minutes after 4.5 hours of driving. The driver can only drive for 9 hours in a day – then must have a 10 hour break before driving again.
The Maximum time on duty (irrespective of the ‘driving hours’) is 15 hours. These laws are in place for good reason. Do not try to encourage the driver to break these rules. There is a maximum of 45 hours in any 7 day period
How does Coach Hire for International Travel Work?
International Travel Coach Hire requires the coach operator to have an international licence. Typically the cost will be structured with three components –coach hire, ferry/tunnel and driver accommodation. The Coach Hire provider should be able to take care of the ferry/tunnel for you.
Who should I complain to about Coach Hire?
In the event of a coach hire being problematic you should take up the complaint with the Company you booked with. If your concerns are over a serious legal issue re the coach you should speak to RSA.
What are the pros and cons re Brokers, Coach Companies and Franchises?
In a fragmented industry like the coach hire industry all the above have a role to play.
Brokers can help get a good price and source availability in difficult markets. Then can however be insensitive to service quality.
Coach Operators take out the ‘middlemen’ but often are selling their fleet as opposed to what the best option is for the customer. A franchised system is our preferred model as the coach hires Company looks to standardise service, brings national coverage and scale for larger events and contracts.
Typical Payment Methods for Coach Hire?
Typically the industry will require a deposit to book and require the balancing payment in the week before departure. Payment is usually accepted by BAC’s, Cheque or Credit Card. Credit Cards will usually command a small processing charge of around 2%. Paying by cash typically increases the risk of ‘no show ‘ on the day and you should be sceptical of why anyone would want cash payment.