26/07/2015 - CoachMarque, the Guild of British Coach Operators and the School Travel Forum align on coach safety
Recognition of quality standards
CoachMarque, the quality coach scheme administered by the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and the Guild of British Coach Operators are delighted to announce that they have reached agreement with the School Travel Forum on a common set of safety and quality criteria to assist schools and school travel companies to minimise their risk in choosing coaches for their tours and visits.
For over 25 years CoachMarque has operated a rigorous set of criteria to ensure that all coach companies within the scheme comply with the highest standards of safety, service and professionalism. There are fewer than 50 companies throughout the UK who have satisfied these standards which are independently audited every two years.
Founded in 2003, the School Travel Forum is a democratic not for profit organisation of leading school tour operators, that promotes good practice and safety in school travel. It provides guidance and assistance to its members to enable them to exercise due diligence in their legal obligation to provide services to their groups, including the provision of transport services, that are reliable, professional and safe.
The 23 members of the Guild of British Coach Operators, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, are also included in the agreement.
By aligning the safety audits of the three schemes, any STF member contracting a CoachMarque or Guild company can rest assured, without further investigation, that the vehicles service contracted will provide, and exceed, acceptable levels of comfort, service and above all, safety.
Ian Luckett, coach operator and Chair of CoachMarque said, "This is a great benefit to CoachMarque and STF members. Aligning the two sets of standards means that STF members only need to see the CoachMarque member's independent audit to know that they adhere to the standard required. If the STF member deals with a multitude of Coach Operators, using CoachMarque members will mean a tremendous admin and time saving, and give them the comfort of knowing the operators have been audited independently."
Alf Scrimgour, CPT's Administrator of CoachMarque, explains; "There will necessarily be a transitional period until we get the two audit dates into sync but after this time this agreement will provide both STF and CoachMarque members with a safe and speedy administration to expedite what can be an onerous and time-consuming process whilst at the same time, guaranteeing school groups with the very highest levels of safety and comfort."
Richard Delahoy, Guild Administrator, added; "Our members have been independently audited for over 10 years now and this adds reassurance that by hiring a Guild operator, you will receive a quality assured service".
Ian Pearson, General Manager of STF added, "School Travel Forum members organise approximately 17,000 school groups involving coach travel every year. Safety and quality are prime considerations for schools and our members. This new agreement is good for everyone; it reinforces the robustness of safety management and reduces unnecessary duplication."