This article has been recently updated (January 2023) from the original article that was published in April 2018 – to ensure it offers up to date and correct information from Castle Minibus.

What are the benefits of leasing and minibus? Is it the answer to all your minibus headaches? 

There are several benefits to leasing a minibus from Castle Minibus over buying or renting one.

  • A brand-new minibus with additional safety features
  • Fixed monthly payments and a low initial deposit
  • No unexpected service or repair bills (excluding accidental damage)
  • Support from Castle Minibus throughout your contract
  • MOTs, services and 10-week minibus safety inspections carried out on-site
  • Breakdown cover included as standard
  • Road fund licence included
  • Logo and livery added before delivery if required
  • Advice on compliance and ongoing minibus management

Minibuses are expensive things to purchase and there is a lot to organise to remain compliant under a Section 19 Permit.  It is easy for school transport managers, or those given the responsibility of the minibus, to feel overwhelmed by a role that doesn’t come with formal training but has potentially massive legal and safety implications. Like any large project, breaking it down into manageable chunks and seeking help and advice where necessary is the best way forward, and as the trusted advisor to over 1500 UK schools Castle Minibus is proud to be able to support even the most reluctant of minibus managers with several packages that help spread not just the costs, but advice and training.

The legal and safety implications of minibuses 

A recent survey by Castle Minibus of over 300 schools (January 2018) revealed over 70% were confused about Section 19 Permits. A school that’s a registered charity or not-for-profit organisation needs to display a Section 19 Permit in every vehicle to avoid needing a PSV Operator’s Licence.

Part of the application for the Section 19 Permit includes an understanding of maintenance responsibilities and proof of your arrangements. If you hire a minibus you need to ensure it has a Certificate of Initial Fitness (COIF) or Certificate of Conformity (CoC) and must be in a safe and roadworthy condition. If you are planning to purchase a vehicle, you must supply details of the arrangements you have made to ensure that the vehicle is kept in a roadworthy condition. Leasing a vehicle through a reputable company such as Castle Minibus includes all the necessary maintenance and minibus safety inspections.

10-week minibus safety and maintenance inspections

Under a Section 19 Permit the DVSA and CTA (Community Transport Authority) who issue the permits recommend that minibuses have a maintenance safety check every 10 weeks by a qualified professional i.e. a mechanic.

Amanda Howard, on behalf of CTA Advice Team comments;

‘We find it is the smaller new members, and also schools, who don’t understand how important safety inspections are that will need further guidance to enable them to comply with our requirements. The CTA has always placed a condition on the issue of section 19 permits that members must undertake to carry out safety inspections at least every 10 weeks. Where we get an application for section 19 permits which does not state 10 weeks we use the opportunity to email our advice leaflet to them and to discuss what they are doing with regards to vehicle maintenance. Some of our members will carry out safety inspections at 6 weekly intervals and some at 8 weekly intervals, it will depend on their operations’.

Spread the costs and the responsibilities

Castle Minibus not only leases vehicles that include the 10-week minibus safety inspections, roadside rescue and their expert guidance as standard, but offer an online minibus compliance course and online driver risk assessments training.

Castle Minibus are Champions of Minibus Safety and as such aim to provide accessible ways for UK schools to remain safe and compliant where their minibuses are concerned.

For more information call 01869 253744 or email

Article as seen in the Independent Schools Magazine, April 2018.