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Live! - News

Union in possible minibus court case

Oct 24 2002 19:20
Dan L
Live! has found out more details about the minibus situation which is causing headaches at ICU
The crashed minibus from the weekend

The minibus situation at ICU has been a constant joke for the previous few months. However Live! can now reveal that the situation is in fact far worse than originally thought.

In Monday's council Ramnath Ramanan (ICU Deputy President Finance and Services) presented a paper outlining the current fleet status. The paper stated we currently have 5 minibuses and 1 van in service, despite last weekend’s loss of one bus.

The problems all started in August when one club managed to seriously damage the 8 seater minibus by driving it without oil and water to France. Last weekend Mountaineering club added to the problem by seriously damaging another bus, which will apparently cost over £4500 to repair.

However it appears that the Mountaineering club bus, had no MoT and was therefore being driven illegally last weekend. Ramnath Ramanan confirmed the rumours to Live! this evening, saying “I fully accept responsibility for the mistake, and I have since discovered two other minibuses have no MoT’s and they have been withdrawn from service”.

This leaves only 3 working vehicles, of a total 10 which the union owns. Far more serious however is the lack of MoT for the bus involved in last weekend’s crash, since it now means the insurance is null and void, and so no money will be paid out for the accident.

Rumour has it that the serious situation will now be addressed at ICU Exec on Monday evening.

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Discussion about “Union in possible minibus court case”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Oct 24 2002 21:10

How on earth did a minibus end up with no oil or water in the first place?

Oct 24 2002 21:12

We are extremely fortunate that no-one was injured in the minibus crash last weekend. I dread to think how serious a situation we would now be dealing with if a tragedy had happened, especially if it was later discovered that the vehicle was not roadworthy.

Oct 25 2002 10:23

Buses wind up with no water/oil because the drivers don't check the level and then ignore the warning lights (or perhaps the warning lights' bulb had gone). There's a pre-flight checklist in each van and I do think that although it's up to the Union to maintain the vehicles, it's the driver's responsibility to ensure they're roadworthy before they take them out and whilst they are on hire.

Does anyone know how soon we can have more buses back on the road? One of our bus bookings has been cancelled - will the Union pay for a commercial hire (assuming we can find a driver over 25) or will they refund the outlay we've already spent for an event we may have to cancel due to lack of minibus?

Glad no-one was hurt at the weekend though, hopefully we've seen the last of the crashes

4. fiend   
Oct 25 2002 11:31

The 8 seater minibus had no oil/water even though it had come straight back from a service! Could be the garage at fault - you would assume that these are the things they check during a service.

5. Tim   
Oct 25 2002 11:56

I blame the ICU.

Oct 25 2002 13:04

I like the advert in Felix (on the RHS of the Your letters section) for a Transport manager.

Oct 25 2002 14:45

Tim as you are ICU Officer it is nice to see that you are partly blaming yourself for this problem.

8. Dan   
Oct 25 2002 15:13

Well I for one am glad we abolished the transport officers at last years council jamboree...

Yeah no one was hurt but i bet the driver (who thankfully remains nameless (and didn't ever live with me...)) feels like a bit of a twat.

9. Tom   
Oct 25 2002 16:38

Yes I know of the driver too... How we can have a fleet of ten buses, but only 3 on the road beggars belief! My booking was adversely affected too (read cancelled), and more expensive alternatives have been sought. One would have thought that the prices that are charged would cover maintenance and so on, if not, put them up! And how a bus could be driven with no oil or water to France (thought it wasn't allowed to go overseas) is also amazing. Do the scientists/engineers at IC have no idea about the functioning of a diesel engine? Don't they follow instructions for everyone's safety at the beginning of a voyage? or do they jst not know how to open the bonnet?!

Yours dissappointedly, TT

10. Dan L   
Oct 25 2002 19:36


The 8 seater minibus is counted as a car so it can go abroad.

Apparently the club (which shall remain nameless) got to Ashford before they siezed the 6 month old engine, causing over ?2500 worth of damage!

Oct 25 2002 23:19


12. fiend   
Oct 28 2002 10:37

Minibuses are cheaper from Kenning anyway, ?183 including VAT, so ?156 without. How can the union justify charging so much extra for ancient clapped out vans which they can't maintain? Perhaps because they don't fill them with water/oil, and forget to MOT them. We (the students) will have to pay for that written off van, thank God no-one was hurt!

Oct 29 2002 16:24

Minibuses are inherently evil and the bane of any students' union... even worse than boat clubs (j/k) :)

The problem arises when newer students apply to drive Kennings heavy minibuses - you have to hold a D1 licence to drive one - most don't these days... and you can transfer the insurance, but then there are issues of age too. I think the way forward is to hire unicycles or hampsters to get around (round, round get-a-round, I get around...)

14. Sam   
Oct 30 2002 09:10


"Minibuses are cheaper from Kenning anyway, ?183 including VAT, so ?156 without"

I don't know what your hire period is, but i would dispute that Kennings is cheaper - and if is, why are you griping at the Union - just go somewhere else.


"you can transfer the insurance"

If you're talking about transferring the Union insurance to cover Kenning's minibuses, i'm afraid you are wrong.

ICU minibuses are insured via the College Insurance, which only covers vehicles owned by college. Kennings minibuses are not owned by College - therefore the college insurance does not cover them.

15. Dan L   
Oct 30 2002 09:26

"If you're talking about transferring the Union insurance to cover Kenning's minibuses, i'm afraid you are wrong"

Sorry Sam but I think you may be wrong. The union insurance is through college, which allows any employee of the policyholder (i.e. college or union) to drive any vehicle they own (ICU minibusses) or any vehicle loaned or hired providing it is not from an employee.

So Kenning minibusses would be ok....

I only know this because Land Rover gave Team Bo' a free Defender for the week in the summer to go to France with, and it was covered by college/union insurance!

If you want a copy of the document it is on the wall in the Guilds office....

16. fiend   
Oct 30 2002 11:13

Quote from the college insurance officer:

'According to the certificate of motor insurance in the case of the vans and minibuses the description of vehicles covered is 'any vehicle designed for the carriage of passengers having a seating capacity of 8 or more the property of the policyholder or hired or lent to him other than by any person in his employ'.

According to this you are actually allowed to use the college insurance on hired minibuses as long as you use these buses for College business/purposes and the Union is well aware of it and has full documentation of the hired vans.'

Kenning price is from midday on friday to midday on Monday, and includes VAT, therefore is ?34 cheaper than the union for newer (working!) vans.

So check your facts Sam!

17. Sam   
Oct 30 2002 11:32

1) If i checked my facts, i wouldn't be the person i am today.

2) Factual accuracy has never been a requirement on Live! before ;o)

Closed This discussion is closed.

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