When James Horseman, Director of Operations at Reading-based Horseman Coaches, heard that some children at local schools were fearful of travelling by coach, he moved quickly to calm their concerns. .
He is inviting schools to visit the company’s premises and see behind the scenes in a move geared to increase awareness of the level of professionalism required to operate safe and reliable coach travel.
Coach trips are such an important part of school life that it is taken as given that the students are relaxed and comfortable with the experience. It was, therefore, a cause for concern when Horseman Coaches received notice of a cancellation forced on the school by a small number of parents who had become fearful of the prospect of their children travelling by coach.
Mr Horseman has long been aware that cost pressures encourage some schools to select coach companies on price alone, whereas other factors such as safety, reliability and the credibility associated with membership of the industry trade association are all too often low on their list of priorities.
Believing that schools need guidance and reassurance, he immediately offered an open invitation to students, parents and teachers. The aim is to show them behind the scenes and not only see for themselves the systems in place to ensure compliance with exacting safety regulations, but also to introduce them to the very high level of safety built into Horseman’s modern fleet coaches.
On a visit to Westwood Farm Infant School, drivers Wayne Tapping and Paul Webb took two Plaxton Panther-bodied Volvo B9Rs – new coaches typical of Horseman Coaches’ vehicles used on school private hire. The students were shown how the all-age three-point seatbelts worked, while Wayne and Paul talked through the other safety features with the parents and teachers.
In a further move to help schools, Horseman Coaches is to release a ‘webinar’ to schools, designed by James Horseman and commissioned by education procurement specialist Minerva, entitled Quality Coaches or Casual Cowboys.
Mr Horseman says: “The webinar explains the questions they should ask and the answers they should expect. It is designed to give them peace of mind and identify the rogues from the reputable. There are operators who will run cheap and the only way they can do that is to cut corners.”
James offered words of comfort to the concerned children