A BUSK initiative to challenge cheap coach hire and regulate coach brokers got off to a good start in Swindon on 20 August when coach brokers, travel management companies and coach operators met to begin a process of setting a national standard for coach brokers and travel management companies to work to.
Currently the industry that provides customers with transport by brokering a deal, is not governed. This leads to the rogue element in the broker business cutting corners, hiring transport for customers at the lowest price with little or no questions asked. So, just who does the duty of care lie with? Who gets to keep a customer's deposit if they cancel the day before the trip - the broker or the coach company that has set aside a vehicle and driver? Who is responsible if the coach does not turn up...the broker or the operator? All these and many more questions were bounced about at the meeting but one thing was very clear, and that was, that those brokers and travel management companies that took the time and effort to attend, were more than willing to be regulated so that they could demonstrate that they do things properly. If properly done that also means transport arrangements and the safety of passengers is taken more seriously.
For schools, groups and the general public, what does all of this mean? Well, surely it can only mean that BUSK will receive less complaints from head teachers who are let down when a vehicle fails to turn up for the school trip and for the bride that has carefully planned her wedding including the hire of a spectacular wedding coach, it will actually be spectacular. Its about knowing the questions to ask and if you hire a coach for any occassion and do not hire directly from a coach operator, at least know that if using a broker or travel management company that often do not own any vehicles and nor will they very often hold an operator's license, then understand clearly, who you are hiring from. Ask if you are dealing with a coach company. Ask for an operator license number and check them out with BUSK. Whatever you do, do not join the growing number of customers that are consistently fooled by websites that boost 'our fleet is nationwide' - it usually means 'their fleet' is not their fleet! It is a mixture of coach companies around the country that are sub contracted and there lies the problem because you, the customer, will not know which transport operator you are being transported by until it turns up to collect you and your group.
For more information contact BUSK.