How to choose the right vehicle for schools and universities

How to choose the right vehicle for schools and universities

The reason a school or university wants a transport vehicle seems obvious - to transport their students to where they need to go. Dig deeper, though, and actually, there are a plethora of reasons to make the choice a bit more nuanced.

From enabling accessibility for all students to acting as a permanent marketing ‘billboard’, saving money on frequent vehicle hire to reflecting investment. Plus there’s transport to sporting events, field trips, and intercampus linkage. For social, sporting and educational activities, having access to transport is a real enabling factor.

Minibuses are the obvious choice to fit the bill, here. Minibuses are motor vehicles that carry more than eight but less than 16, as well as the driver, and can be a maximum length of eight metres. Rivervale has plenty of minibuses on offer, from the 17 seater Ford Transit to the nine seat Toyota Proace Verso.

Toyota Proace Verso Seats

Who are you transporting?

The intended passenger will have a great say upon the priorities you make when choosing a vehicle. If you’re transporting young children the most important thing will be safety, and potentially the addition of booster seats and car seats (which require easy accessibility for installation and moving).

To allow for children and adults with physical disabilities your transportation choice will need ramps and accessible doors, as well as potentially the space for wheelchairs and physical assistance equipment within the minibus itself. Older passengers, for example sixth form or university students, will require adult-level legroom and headspace, necessitating a different type of vehicle choice from transporting young children.

Read more: Best 8-9 Seater Minibuses to Lease


Safety is obviously paramount, especially when you have a duty of care towards your passengers. Staff taking on the responsibility of driving should always make sure to know where relevant paperwork is (including insurance, driving licence, MOT and vehicle tax).

A pre-journey checklist:

  • Make sure they know how to use all doors, and make sure all doors are unlocked but firmly shut.

  • Check tyres - for pressure, damage, and wear.

  • Check the exterior of the minibus for any damage (including to the windows).

  • Check mirrors, number plate, and reflectors or light lenses for damage and cleanliness.

  • Check for valid Section 19 Permit.

Read more: Permit 19 Safety Inspects Explained

  • DPV (Disabled Passenger Vehicle) class shown if applicable.

  • Check all seatbelts are operational.

  • Check fluid levels of oil, coolant, brake/clutch, and windscreen fluid, making sure there are no leaks.

  • Check interior condition for damage, and cleanliness - and to ensure the stowage of loose items.

  • Check first aid kit.

  • Check fire extinguisher(s), foam or water.

  • Check seat anchorage, tail-lifts, and any securing vehicles if yours is an accessible vehicle.

  • Pre-drive checks - position driver’s seat and mirrors.

  • Check for a spare set of bulbs.

  • Check the operation of lights, washers, horn, ventilation, indicators and any switches.

  • Check operation of brake and handbrake.

  • Check all passengers and driver are wearing seatbelts.

  • Check steering, brakes and speedo as you pull off.

  • Whilst driving, check no warning lights appear in the dash, no excessive smoke is coming from the exhaust and that all gauges are operational.

What do you have to do?

Every minibus must be:

  • Correctly licensed

  • Insured

  • Uptodate with vehicle tax, in the correct category

  • Valid and up to date with MOT, if more than one year old

  • Only driven by legally entitled, properly insured drivers

  • Well maintained

Minibus insurance should cover all the uses the minibuses will be put to, the total number of passengers allowed and the total weight, and all the drivers allowed to drive the minibus.

In summary

The right choice of minibus can ensure your university or school looks attractive, modern and competitive, enhancing your sporting and academic achieving abilities, and help you to increase and maintain attendance, and democratise access to extracurricular activities. Take a look at our selection of minibuses available to lease online today.

If you'd like to talk to a Leasing Expert about a Minibus for your School, give us a call on 01273 433 480, or request a callback at a time that suits you.

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