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Thread: Minibus abroad

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    Minibus abroad

    Hi, I am looking to take 2 minibuses borrowed from a nearby scout troop to Holland for scout camp next summer. This could either be via Harwich and direct by ferry to Holland or via Dover - Calais and then driving up through France and Belgium. Has anyone done this before? Please can someone clarify the requirements for the vehicle and any licences required? Ive tried to google and not got a conclusive answer. Drivers all have D1. Thanks!

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    ASL Kev's Avatar
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    Is that full D1 or D1 not for hire or reward?

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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev View Post
    Is that full D1 or D1 not for hire or reward?
    You can tell by looking at the license. If you have D1 for Europe it says D1. If it is just for the UK, it says D1(101)

    You will also need tachos, tacho cards and to keep drivers hours from the moment you leave the UK base, not from landing in Calais. Plus meet all requirements for driving like alcohol testers, 17 hi viz jackets etc.

    Best idea is to hire 8 seaters as you don't have any of these issues and they are much nicer to drive and to be driven in. And can drive at 70.

    Then you need just to have the hi viz etc.

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    Last edited by big chris; 07-12-2018 at 07:21 AM.

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    SL - 44th Swansea
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    A good starting point, if you haven't already found this document, is this Community Transport Association advice.
    Richard Organ

    44th Swansea (St Pauls Church) Scout Leader



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    Senior Member big chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeovil_walker View Post
    A good starting point, if you haven't already found this document, is this Community Transport Association advice.
    yup, that is excellent

    i reckon that if you have drivers with full d1 (so they have sat their PCV test) then they will know this already. If your drivers are just d1(101) then (to quote the guide) you may have to consider a number of alternatives: Using one or more vehicles with fewer than 9 passenger seats (excluding the
    driver)
    Finding existing PCV drivers to participate on the trip
    Using public transport in the country (-ies) concerned
    Cancelling the trip

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    My gosh but those minibus rules look complex!

    At the risk of being like that Harry Enfield character...You don't wanna do it like that!

    Haarlem Jamborette?

    Get them to arrange a coach for you from Hook of Holland (that's their suggestion on the website). Take a van for your kit.
    If you won't need your minibuses while you're there, they'll just be in the way.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Senior Member Ker-stee's Avatar
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    Id wait a little bit longer before hiring one. From what Ive read, the Brexit deal could affect who can drive in Europe....


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    The best advice is "don't". As other have said, hire a coach with commercial driver, fly, use public transport, use cars[1] or whatever. It's a total minefield.

    Even the fact that you don't actually own the buses adds complexity.

    [1] a 9 seater including the driver is a car.

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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Don't do it. The risk of falling foul of the law is too high. And on D1(101) you (the group) must own the vehicle, you can't borrow or hire or you do a "closed door trip"

    It can be done, but it is very complex.

    I have seen buses emptied at the roadside in France and the drivers removed by the police - it may be for any offence but it can and does happen. So, you might "get away" with it, but if you don't you may well find that your driver gets arrested (yes, they do that), you are left at the roadside with a bunch of kids and kit, and a minibus that can't be driven. I got stopped in Alsace, they checked my documents, smiled and waved me on. Had I been driving a minibus, I could well have had a lot of explaining to do to angry parents...

    I've done a "closed door trip" and it is very dificult to adhere to on a Scout trip - got some unexpected free time, or a visit is cancelled - you can't just go somewhere else as you will be off your stated route...

    Plus, post Brexit, Brits are going to be very unpopular in parts of Europe and we will not get away with breaking their laws "because we didn't understand".

    Use 9 seat MPVs, they are more expensive to hire, but they use less fuel than a minibus, they need no tacho, they are more comfortable and you can park them anywhere you can park a car - almost - I say almost because parking a LWB VW Transporter in some multi-storey car parks can be a tad tight.

    (for the record - this comes from the experience of having done seven such trips - I know which is the easiest and most stress free method of self transporting).

    BTW if you do go ahead - go direct from Harwich to The Netherlands - do not drive borrowed minibuses on D1(101) in France. That is not to say that the Dutch Police will be any more forgiving if you were to have a bump.*

    * On the "We will get away with it" approach, people forget that in most of Europe, if you have a minor accident, you must report it to the Police, at the place the accident took place, or else you may not be insured. So, through no error on your part, you may have your papers checked, and if you are breaking the law, you could have problems.
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member Konica's Avatar
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    One final thing, that you may not have considered, but those drivers also need to have the photocard licence.

    During my last scouting trip abroad we quickly found that the nominated 2nd Driver couldn't drive as he still only had his original paper licence which was not accepted abroad. So I ended up doing all the driving. Which, as a full time professional driver, I preferred anyway. But it still would have been nice to have someone else to take over when i wanted to rest rather than just parking up.

    The rest stops were nicer over there. The toilets not as much

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    Quote Originally Posted by Konica View Post
    One final thing, that you may not have considered, but those drivers also need to have the photocard licence.

    During my last scouting trip abroad we quickly found that the nominated 2nd Driver couldn't drive as he still only had his original paper licence which was not accepted abroad. So I ended up doing all the driving. Which, as a full time professional driver, I preferred anyway. But it still would have been nice to have someone else to take over when i wanted to rest rather than just parking up.

    The rest stops were nicer over there. The toilets not as much
    Paper UK licenses ARE still valid abroad.

    https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad

    Edit: probably a clueless hire company or clerk.

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    Last edited by Neil Williams; 16-12-2018 at 06:08 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Konica View Post
    The rest stops were nicer over there. The toilets not as much
    I usually find the toilets at srvices abroad very clean... but are you talking about the roadside halts with toilets - they can be grim as there are no cleaners. Stopped at one in Luxembourg - you could smell it from about 10 metres away. Another one in Austria was crusted in the salts that had built up over the summer... In both cases most people took the risk of a fine by doing what the bears do
    Ewan Scott

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    Senior Member Konica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    Paper UK licenses ARE still valid abroad.

    https://www.gov.uk/driving-abroad

    Edit: probably a clueless hire company or clerk.
    I can't recall the specific reasons but it was because it was not a photocard licence and thus ID could not be proved. We were in a hired 3.5t panel van and I was fully licenced. Even if it had been a minibus, i still would have been licensed. But my co driver was not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Konica View Post
    One final thing, that you may not have considered, but those drivers also need to have the photocard licence.

    During my last scouting trip abroad we quickly found that the nominated 2nd Driver couldn't drive as he still only had his original paper licence which was not accepted abroad. So I ended up doing all the driving. Which, as a full time professional driver, I preferred anyway. But it still would have been nice to have someone else to take over when i wanted to rest rather than just parking up.

    The rest stops were nicer over there. The toilets not as much
    On that same note - do you have spare drivers?

    I dont mean enough that you can have rest breaks - that's always nice, but as long as you allow enough time for proper breaks, a single driver per vehicle will probably suffice. Until things go wrong.

    If I was taking a group abroad in any kind of vehicle (or vehicles) i'd want to have at least one spare driver across the group. That way, if one driver is ill / unable to drive / injured, the trip can still continue. If you only have one driver per vehicle, and that driver breaks their leg during an activity, its going to be a pain to get the group back (your travel insurance may provide for options here, but given the choice, i'd rather know that if Akela was injured on the Cub overland expedition to outer mongolia, Baloo could hop into the driving seat and continue the journey)

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    Agree with the comments above re spare drivers - we took a van of kit to Switzerland in 2017. 2 drivers needed for the journey - I insisted we had 3 registered with the hire company and insurance. As it was a larger van, the drivers needed tacho discs - but these couldn't be issued to the one drive who only had a paper driving licence. A couple of the other leaders were in the "we've got 2 drivers, we'll be fine" mindset - fortunately one of the others was able to step in, get a disc etc just in case... and we needed him, one of the drivers damaged his elbow on an activity so we had to swop.

    (NB: what we didn't realise was that our large van wasn't allowed to travel on Swiss roads on a Sunday, so our drivers had an extra night in Kandersteg and a delayed journey home... ho hum, I was trying to avoid my usual control freak tendency by delegating all aspects of the hiring and driving van to another leader, but somehow we all managed to miss that bit)
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