What do we need?
Going Forward Buses is looking for people who might be available to fill in for our regular drivers during:
(a) pre-planned leave or absence
(b) sickness or sudden other unforseen absence
(c) breakdowns when someone to drive the backup vehicle is required.
Of course, for (b) and (c) it is not easy for people to suddenly be available to cover such events, but if there are a few people on a list that Terry has who could be contacted in an 'emergency' then hopefully one of them might be able to help.
GFB is also hoping to be able to operate other services in the locality too, but this will be dependant on finding drivers who would be willing to make a regular commitment. This could include a new route serving Whitchurch Hill, Cray's Pond and Goring Heath to replace the current Thames Travel service that is under threat.
There is also the possibility of occasional excursions, e.g. to Greys Court, Nuffield Park and Basildon Park/Beale Park, or other local destinations if people are interested; charter journeys; and services in conjunction with local events such as the Regatta
Who can drive the minibuses?
As the vehicles are certified for 16 or fewer passenger seats and are operated under what is known as a Section 22 permit, they can be driven by those holding a category D1 licence. Category D1 licences should already be held by all those holding a normal car licence prior to 1997, but this will expire when they reach 70 years old. The process to retain the minibus entitlement involves passing a medical to PCV standard. The driver has to complete a D2 form (Application for Lorry, Bus or Minibus driving licence) and also get their doctor to complete a D4 (Medical Examination Report). Both the D2 and D4 then have to be sent to the DVLA to enable them to renew the driving licence. This process has to be repeated every 3 years.
The doctors at Goring Surgery have advised us that the fee for obtaining the medical report is £180 and unfortunately they say they cannot reduce it. The examination itself should take no more than 30 minutes. Going Forward Buses would pay any doctors’ or DVLA fees charged to get the D1 licence if necessary. Although the cost may seem high, the bus service might not be as reliable as we want it to be if we don’t have enough drivers.
Is there any remuneration?
Any voluntary effort would be very much appreciated to keep costs to a minimum; however GFB recognises that in order to make the service as reliable as possible we may need to offer remuneration and will be happy to discuss this further with anyone who is interested.
If you’d like to know more (without any obligation!) please contact us by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone on 07484 605888. Hope to hear from you soon!