Our Minibus Hire service is only available to non-profit making community and voluntary groups, statutory organisations who are registered members, and individuals users who are unable to access public transport due to infirmity or disability.
There is an annual fee for member groups:
£6.00 for unfunded groups
£10.00 for funded groups
£25.00 for statutory organisations
BHCT operates under a Section 19 Permit. This means:
- A minibus can only be used by a group registered as a member of BHCT.
- Cannot be hired by an individual.
- Subject to availability, a minibus may be used by a group member on either a self-drive basis or with-driver basis
- A minibus cannot be used for activities (or as part of activities) which are profit making.
- Whilst being used, a minibus can only be driven by someone who is on the BHCT Register of Drivers.
Minibuses and Safety
All vehicles currently in the BHCT fleet are fully accessible and have the means of transporting clients in their wheelchairs.
The saloon seats in each minibus are fitted with inertia reel restraint systems. Passengers are expected to use the available restraint systems at all times, unless they hold a medical exemption certificate. Children aged 14 years and above must use their seat belts. In the rear seats of minibuses, all passengers under 14 must be encouraged to wear the seat belt or child restraint provided.
It is the user’s responsibility to assess each passenger’s ability to use the steps or passenger lift when boarding or alighting from a BHCT minibus. Similarly, it is the user’s responsibility (where applicable) to assess each passenger’s ability to transfer safely from a wheelchair to a seat in a BHCT minibus, and from such a seat to a wheelchair. BHCT reserves the right to make its own determination about the use of steps or a passenger lift, and similarly about a transfer to and from a minibus seat, if the driver believes that safety has been compromised by the user’s assessment. Remember that young children are required to use appropriate seating, and that BHCT does not provide baby carriers, child seats or booster cushions. If your group is a voluntary child care organisation and BHCT’s driver (either paid or unpaid) is likely to have substantial unsupervised access to children whilst driving a BHCT vehicle, you are recommended to consider requesting the Criminal Record Office to provide you with information about that person under the Criminal Conviction Information Scheme. It is not expected that BHCT will be asked to transport unaccompanied children.
Disabled badges (known as blue badges) may be obtained by hiring groups, but must be requested at the time the booking is made. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that the badge is used correctly and the vehicle is parked legally. The MIDAS Handbook sets out the conditions under which blue badges can be used. Any prosecutions arising from illegal use of the badge will be directed to the organisation concerned. A fine might be imposed if the badge is not returned at the correct time.
All vehicles are insured for any MIDAS certificate holder registered with BHCT. In the event of an incident, where the hiring group’s driver is found to be at fault, the hiring organisation shall be held responsible for the cost or repairs/damages or for the insurance excess. Insurance cover may be invalidated if any of the information provided by the hiring group subsequently found to be false or inaccurate at which time the hiring group shall be responsible for the full cost of repair.
The vehicle must be returned with half a tank of diesel so that it is ready for the next group. Please use the ESSO card in the pocket on the driver’s window. You may obtain diesel only from designated ESSO Garages. Please use diesel. A negligence charge may be made to any group that puts the wrong type of fuel into the minibus.
Vehicle breakdown and damage
You must be able to provide a contact telephone number. This is especially important for travel outside normal office hours. If you do not provide such a telephone number, BHCT cannot be held responsible for any failure to inform you about any emergency or other problem associated with the booking: e.g. a breakdown on the way to the first pick-up. If a breakdown occurs during office hours 07:00 – 17:00 please contact the office direct. If out of office hours, please contact the emergency numbers provided. Accident damage to the vehicle must be notified to BHCT as soon as possible. Vehicles must be returned in a clean and tidy condition, all rubbish must be removed. Failure to do so may result in a £25.00 surcharge being added to the hirers’ invoice.
In the event of an incident, where the hiring group’s driver is found to be at fault, the hiring organisation shall be held responsible for the cost or repairs/damages or for the insurance excess.
Drivers’ and hirers’ responsibilities
Any fines resulting in illegal parking will be passed on to the hirer/driver. Drivers must not drive whilst under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any prosecutions resulting from the use of a vehicle will be the responsibility of the hirer/driver. Drivers must inspect the vehicle before each hire, and note down any damage of fault using the appropriate documentation. Receipts for fuel, trip sheet and keys must be returned to the office. The invoice for any particular hire will be the responsibility of the hirer. Drivers and passengers are not allowed to smoke in any BHCT vehicle. BHCT reserves the right to refuse requests from groups who ignore this regulation and reserves the right to levy a charge of £15 for clearing up debris caused by smoking.
Bookings are subject to vehicle and driver availability. Bookings must be confirmed in writing/fax/email. Requests for regular bookings should be made by filling our online booking request form. All bookings should state dates, times, vehicle required, seating capacity, etc. Bookings are accepted at the discretion of BHCT. It is important that careful consideration is given to the times for which you wish to use the vehicle, especially its return time. Keeping a vehicle longer than the pre-booked return time could render the user liable to financial (or other) penalties. In the event of an accident, breakdown or unavoidable circumstances this does not apply. A group should give careful consideration to route planning when requesting a booking especially if it involves multiple pick-ups. It is also important to be accurate about the number of passengers travelling in wheelchairs. It is the user’s responsibility to provide BHCT with accurate information about the destination and/or venue for a journey. This includes details about the precise address, identification of any hazards, and the provision (where necessary) of directions. If a vehicle is returning out of office hours then a garage key and gate key must be collected and signed for before the office closes. The keys must then be returned to the office the following day.
Charges and payments
BHCT charges take into account the time the vehicle and driver is away from base and will also include time allowed for setting up the vehicle for a particular journey, e.g. the removal of seats for wheelchair clients. Please contact the office for a quotation in respect of any journeys you may wish to undertake. The invoice for any particular hire will be the responsibility of the hirer. All accounts must be paid promptly. Invoices are sent out automatically when the booking is registered by the office on our reservation site (Checkfront) and must be paid within 14 days or before your booking date. Non-payment may result in loss of membership. The invoice for any particular group travel will be the responsibility of the member organisation.
Journeys cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice are subject to the full cost; cancellation less than five working days notice carry 50% of the cost; cancellation notice up to 10 working days carry 10% of cost. All other cancellations are subject to an administration charge of £15. The minimum charge in any case is £15. If you need to cancel your booking, please contact us as soon as possible and ask for a reference number which confirms your cancellation. You will need to keep this reference number for your records. A charge for late return of the vehicle will be imposed and an additional penalty may be incurred if the vehicle misses its next booking. All late running should be notified to CT at the earliest opportunity. BHCT reserves the right to reject, cancel or vary any booking if the purpose for which the vehicle is to be used is inconsistent with the alms, objectives or rules of BHCT. In the event of cancellation or change to a booking by BHCT no liability can be accepted for any loss, financial or otherwise, arising from our failure to provide a vehicle, and BHCT cannot be held responsible for breach of contract in such circumstances.