Questions to ask a coach operator

Like a knight without a steed and a rodeo rider without a bull, a GTO without a reliable coach company is up the creek without a paddle. So how do you make sure your operator is dependable? Here are 7 questions to ask before you book.

1.       What credit facility does the driver have?

This isn’t about being nosy. It’s about making sure provisions are in place in case any problems arise. For example, if the coach has a minor malfunction that the driver can resolve by buying something on the spot, does that driver have the funds accessible? If drivers have access to a company credit card, it can be useful in crisis situations.

2.       What standard of breakdown cover does the company have?

This is particularly pertinent if you’re travelling abroad on a coach. It’s easy to take it for granted that a company’s breakdown cover transfers to Europe and beyond. Just to be sure, ask the company the question.

3.       Are driving licences valid?

Again, this is something you take for granted when booking a coach operator. However, there have been cases recently when coach parties have discovered, after an incident, that their drivers have not had a valid driving license. This has mostly occurred when coach companies have utilised agency staff. It can’t hurt to ask.

4.       What sort of insurance does the company have?

Asking about a coach company’s insurance can bring peace of mind. It’s especially important to ask this question if you are travelling outside the UK with your group.

5.       What sort of mobile phone does the driver have?

Some of the best coach companies provide their drivers with company mobile phones. Drivers that use their own mobiles while on duty might have low batteries or run out of credit. If a driver is using a company phone, there’s a better chance that it will be fully powered and have the funds to make calls if problems arise.

6.       Are there maps on board?

Your coach company’s sat nav might be all-singing all-dancing, but what happens when your journey takes you into an area with no signal? Maps may seem old fashioned, but they can be vital in a crisis.

7.       Does the company have regular audits?

When a company invites consultants in from the likes of the AA or Transport Consultants UK to do regular health and safety and process audits it’s a sign that they care about the quality of their services. Asking if a company conducts regular fleet risk management audits can help you establish the philosophy of an operator.