Top marks for Bicester company’s bus training

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A school minibus hire firm based at Bicester Innovation Centre is celebrating the first anniversary of its driver training service, which it says has made significant improvements to student safety.

Castle Minibus says its training has helped achieve a 92 per cent first-time pass rate for D1 minibus licences, which is twice the national average.

The company launched a driver training service after its founder, Chris Maynard, identified an opportunity to provide a complete offering to schools and colleges.

Mr Maynard said: “As costs are increasingly scrutinised by the LEA, a minibus is often something that is easily overlooked.

“On top of that, there are no legal requirements for a person to be trained on how to drive a minibus if they passed their driving test before January 1997, yet driving a minibus full of students is an extremely different challenge to driving a car.”

The company relocated from Stowe Castle Business Park to Bicester Innovation Centre in 2006, when it employed just four people, and now has 11 staff in three offices.

The firm had 16 schools on its books in 2008, and now has more than 600.