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Post  peanutbutter on Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:28 am

I come across this one of the blogs the other day... I thorgh you lot may like to see it!

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I’m grateful to a reader from Wales who sent this picture of a sign above inward facing seats on a step Dennis Dart operated by South Wales Transport. The sign reads:

“These seats are not to be use on local authority contracted school journeys (they are not fitted with seat belts)”.

The local transport authority in question insists that belts are available for all its qualifying pupils. That’s fair comment and within the LTA’s rights to do so. Normally, this would apply to coaches, where seat belts might these days be expected as the norm.

But, what about retrofitting on an M-reg Dennis Dart? Are the flooring and seat frames strong enough to withstand the pressures in the event of a crash? As far as I’m aware, VOSA makes no assessment but at test will tug at the belts and check for belt damage.

And what about at other times? Weekends, for example, when pupils become young people travelling into town. Or when the bus is on service carrying fare-paying pupils travelling to school who aren’t the responsibility of the LTA.

It highlights the point that there’s potentially a two-tier system. If you live in a large city, likelihood is you’ll travel to school on a commercial bus service as part of the network and may even need to stand, whether you qualify for free transport or not. On a closed school contract, you have your seat and your belt.

Wonder whether the pupils actually wear the belts...
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Post  Bristol LH on Wed Sep 15, 2010 6:29 am

Peanut, a bus can only be fitted with seatbelts by an authorised company such as Barry Hall installations, and not by the operator themselves. The bus is then tested by them. They also only fit belts to a bus which has sound floors and seat frames. The bus is then tested by VOSA.

You will be surprised how violently VOSA inspectors shake seats to check for security. I actually saw one break a seat when checking it. And it wasnt some cheapo Deans steel framed job. It was an Esteban recliner in a Plaxton coach!

Bristol LH
Bristol LH

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Post  Pukerlicious on Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:37 am

That's on one of the two PP1 step Darts (maybe both I don't know). However, I'm quite sure it's total rubbish and our council have no regulation of the sort in place. For quite some time I had a Veolia SCC bodied Dart SLF back in school which had no seatbelts and that was classed as a contracted service. All but two in my school were contracted; a route which South Wales Transport does (or did, I have a suspicion that they no longer do) and a First route. However, what they ARE funny about is using double deckers. Totally against it. Infact I think Veolia lost a contract for regularly using a double decker on it.

And the answer to the last line about if they actually wear the seatbelts: no. Unless the driver has specifically gotten up and made everyone put their belt on (doesn't happen very often), I'll give you a fiver for everyone you find actually wearing it in the whole school. You'll often find a lot of people standing up, kneeling on the seat facing the other way talking etc. Again, on a contracted service you must be sitting down in your seat and nobody can be standing.

Another thing not mentioned there is that contracted school journeys cannot be regularly operated by vehicles over 15 years old in Neath Port Talbot. So really speaking that vehicle can't be used anyway unless it's classed as a service.

Out of curiousity, what blog was that from?

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