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How to avoid becoming the next victim

 

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Warning as Schools and youth organisations are left out of pocket when unsafe coach companies go out of business.

The Havant & Waterlooville Swimming Club have been one of the latest victims, as their club lost £500 when South Hampshire based coach company Victory Travel suddenly closed its doors for business.

24 disappointed children from the swimming club were let down by the coach company only a day before planning to travel to London for vital training. Victory Travel also failed to make any last minute alternative travel arrangements and months later the swimming club are still left out of pocket with no sign of any refund.

 

Safety failings

The closure of Victory Travel was as a result of the operator licence, legally required to run a coach company, was revoked by the Traffic Commissioner due to serious shortcomings and safety breaches.

Safety concerns involving Victory Travel were first raised back in June 2015 when DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Services Agency) investigations revealed serious shortcomings. Investigations revealed concerns with the amount of hours drivers spent behind the wheel, safety procedures and failures to comply with basic traffic management systems. In 2016 one of the coaches operated by Victory Travel dangerously lost a wheel whilst travelling on the M3 Motorway.

 

The cost of safety

Many schools and youth groups under constant pressures of funding cuts are often forced to seek the most competitive price for coach travel. However, these competitive prices often come with a high risk.

A minority of coach companies will endeavour to do anything to offer the most competitive price in order to guarantee the sale. In some circumstances companies will even offer a price that falls well below the threshold required to cover their own basic "coach safety" related expenses. When companies can't afford to pay their own bills, one of two things usually happen: either a serious incident occurs with the risk of fatalities or they quickly go out of business and leave stranded customers out of pocket.

 

How to avoid becoming the next victim

£500 is just too much for any youth group or school to lose, especially when you have to pay again whilst panicking to cover any last minute alternative coach travel arrangements. One way to protect yourself from becoming the next victim is to book your next coach with a reputable BUSK Benchmark accredited company.

BUSK Benchmark is the first and only completely independent star rating for the minibus and coach industry based on safety and legal compliance. Coach companies with the UK are only awarded with the Benchmark - six star safety accreditation when they pass a number of rigorous standards and safety checks. These checks include two independent audits to check how the company is run, what systems are in place to safeguard passengers and to what standards drivers are trained. These checks are made when a coach company applies for accreditation, every three years after that and are also subject to random spot checks.

 

Helping you to pay for more reliable and safer coach travel

Victory Travel was NOT a benchmark accredited company, operated their coaches in an unsafe condition and resulted with the Havant & Waterlooville Swimming Club losing £500. Although it may be tempting to chose the cheapest quote: reliability, safety and any refunds when companies go bust, are often not guaranteed within the price.

We don't want to see any more schools or youth groups fall victim, lose money or risk their own safety because of funding pressures and unsafe coach companies. We want to help schools and youth groups to reduce or totally cover the associated costs with providing more reliable and safer coach travel.

 

How we can help...

 

 

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