The wheels on mini buses are going around and around much more smoothly since Plymouth City Council bought shiny new ones for taking children with disabilities to school.
Five city special schools will benefit from six new school transport mini buses after the half-term break following an investment of £281,000 by the Council to renew its entire fleet and share the vehicles with schools on a lease basis.
Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet Member for Environment, explains: “We bought these new mini buses so that we can share them with schools. When we aren’t using them to pick up and drop off children, the schools will be using them, so we’re getting more miles for our money. These new buses mean fewer repairs and lower running costs and they are far more environmentally friendly than the previous buses, simply due to age. Their safety ratings are also much better which is reassuring for parents and safer for children.”
The three new wheelchair accessible mini buses and three standard 17 seat mini buses are being shared with Mill Ford Community Special School (two buses), Longcause Community Special School, Cann Bridge Special School, Brook Green Centre for Learning and Courtlands Special School.
Mrs Claire Wills, Headteacher at Mill Ford Community Special School, said: “It’s fantastic we have these new mini buses to make use of during the school day – it opens up possibilities for exciting educational field trips and we making the most of resources that would otherwise sit unused. It’s also very important for us to know our students are safe and secure in modern, environmentally friendly buses.”
Each mini bus is rated with a Euro NCAP safety rating of 5 (the highest) so they are the safest and most efficient on the market.
Councillor Nicky Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It is common sense to make sure the buses are used as much as possible by working co-operatively with our schools so children and young people have more opportunities to learn away from the classroom. Getting out and about is one of the best bits about school – the excitement of a school trip and sharing new experiences with your friends.”