Chris Maynard, Castle’s Managing Director explains what’s happening with all Castle Minibus’ services during the Covid-19 lock down

I would firstly like to say that on behalf of all of us at Castle, our thoughts are with you and your families during these uncertain times.

Now – more than ever – we realise how small the world truly is and the importance of coming together to protect our community in times of need.

We just wanted to reach out and connect, to ensure you and your loved ones are keeping well and positive during these extremely testing times.

While most of our staff are on furlough, our core team continue to operate from home to support schools and colleges during this crisis and plan for a return to normal.

Working hard to help schools and their budgets where we can, the following is summary information for all our customers across the various sections of our business.

Minibus Leasing during the lock down

  • If your leasing agreement ends in the next few months, you may take the option to extend your current minibus or it might be worth off hiring your current vehicle and organising for a new one in September. This could save you up to 3-4 months in leasing payments.

You will not be charged for the new vehicle until you receive it.

  • If you were considering a new leased vehicle for September, then we are happy to talk you through all your options and agree a price with you now. Again, you will not start paying your monthly leasing fee until you receive the vehicle.

Minibus Used Sales during the lock down

  • We still have a range of quality used school minibuses for sales on our Buy a Minibus page with full specification, images and a walk around videos. If you are interested in any of these vehicles, we will hold it for you, for a small deposit, and arrange the delivery as soon as it is safe to do so.

 

  • We are still interested in purchasing/ part-exchanging your old minibus so please get in touch and let us know what you have and what you’re looking for.

Minibus Short-term Hire during the lockdown

  • We are not able to deliver any short-term hire vehicles currently, but we are happy to take enquiries for longer term hires e.g. 6 months plus and again be able to deliver when it is safe to do so.

10-week safety inspections during the lockdown

  • Our two partners who carry out the 10-week safety inspections on site are still working as keeping vehicles safe on the road is a priority.
  • If you have an inspection booked in, you will still be visited, unless you have been advised otherwise.

10-week safety inspections are a requirement of Section 19 Permits and are required over and above services and MOTs. They must be carried out by qualified engineers. If you would like to change to a service where your 10-week safety inspections are carried out on site, so you don’t have to drive your vehicles to and from a local garage, please get in touch.

Minibus Compliance Course (MCC)

All minibus compliance courses have been postponed until the end of September. All those who were booked to attend have been contacted and an alternative date booked. Those who are looking to attend an MCC can find the new dates and venues, from September, on our website.

Meanwhile we are working hard to get compliance training accessible online.

Minibus Insurance

Our minibus insurance partner James Brown and Sons are still happy to provide quotes for your minibuses and vehicle fleets whether owned, leased and short-term hires. Castle customers receive discounts and a three-year insurance premium guarantee – for two to five-year leasing customers. Please give us a call on 01869 253744 and we’ll be glad to make the introduction.

Please note: Castle Minibus is not an insurance broker and acts solely as an introduction service for James Brown and Sons.

Driving training during the lockdown

D1 Driver training

We are still happy to receive any enquiries about D1 driver training and we will talk you through the process and if anything can be done during the lock down. Please call on 01869 253744 or email enquiries@castleminibus.co.uk

  • If you have had completed your D1 paperwork prior to the lock down, we will have registered you onto our online theory revision tool so that you’ll be ready to take your theory test at the earliest opportunity. You will have received an email from us with all the details.
  • If you had completed your theory test and were waiting for your practical training and test you will have been informed by us that everything is currently on hold. As soon as we know when we can start re-booking training and tests we will be in touch.

MiDAS training and Castle Assessment Days

All MiDAS training and Castle Assessment Days have been postponed for the lock down period. If you had a training booked, we will have been in touch to let you know the situation.

Castle Minibus has its own ADI driver trainers who deliver MiDAS and the Castle Assessment days and we will contact you again as soon as we are able to rebook your trainings.

CODA. Castle’s Online Driver Assessments

Now is a great time to assess your existing drivers, or any new staff members that are joining you next term. Our online driver assessment programme is fully functioning, our team will set you up and get you started.

If you want to see what it looks like click here for a very short demo – and then get in touch for a free code to trial the complete system.

STRIDA. School Transport Manager Record and Inspection Dashboard with App

Record and manage your drivers’ daily and weekly minibus checks. The app is free for any school to download, whether they are a Castle customer or not, there is no need to contact us first.

Simply visit http://safety.castleminibus.co.uk/ and set up your school’s dashboard. You can then invite drivers via the dashboard, and they will then follow a link to set up a password. Once they’ve set up a password, they download the app and use it make daily checks of the minibus – those results can be seen on the dashboard.

As ever, Castle Minibus are here to support customers, past, present and future. We are still working and happy to help where we can. While no one knows when this lock down will end, or when there will be a return to normal, we are keen to support schools so that they can hit the ground running when we return to some kind of normal.

Whatever your question, concern or comment please call on 01869 253744 or email enquiries@castleminibus.co.uk

With kind regards, stay safe

Chris Maynard

Managing Director