Newport bus safety group's UK first
6:00am Monday 11th February 2013 in News
A NEWPORT-based group has launched a new scheme with will see coaches and minibuses star rated for safety – a first for the UK.
Benchmark is a unique new scheme offered by BUSK, which allows operators to demonstrate they are safety compliant by displaying awarded green stars on their fleet.
Pat Harris set up BUSK, the Newport-based bus safety group, 20 years ago this month. Originally set up as a pressure group it mounted a high profile national campaign resulting in seat belt legislation, making it a legal requirement for all coaches and minibuses to be fitted with safety belts when carrying children in the UK.
The new scheme, which launched today (MON) will give a star rating to transport operators based on how safe they are. More than 50 companies across the country are already on board, including Pontypool-based Peakes coaches.
Mrs Harris believes it allows transport companies to prove they care about passenger safety, but also shows which companies reinvest in their fleet and maintain them safely.
She said: "It’s about time parents stood up and insisted their child’s school hired on safety criteria and not just cost, and are also prepared to pay an extra pound for the trip."
Mrs Harris added: "A Benchmark company has been checked out by BUSK before they are accepted onto the scheme and they will be policed by us for as long as they remain members.
"This gives parents confidence that their child is guaranteed to be in safe hands when travelling with a Benchmarked company.
"Benchmark star rating has nothing to do with luxury and absolutely everything to do with safety."
"Cheap coach hire must always be challenged because it is normally only possible when the company offering it has fallen below an acceptable level of safety and is flaunting the regulations.
"I personally challenge any coach operator offering cheap hire to prove me wrong. "
For more information visit www.busk-uk.com.