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Transportation of Boy Scouts

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  • Transportation of Boy Scouts

    How do you transport your Boy Scouts? We have historically transported our Scouts in a 15 passenger van, provided by our CO. Last month, we were advised that this was no longer an option, and we set out to look into purchase. We've come to find out that 15 passenger vans are not safe to operate, and many insurance companies do not lite to insure them. We have enjoyed the van in the past, as it allows us to have SM/ ASM/ Scouts as the campers, and doesn't require non-scouter parents (especially the helicopter type) to come to the camp out. It also provides great marketing for the Troop, as parents aren't expected/ needed to drive in caravan. Short distant camp outs aren't as much of an issue in this case, but we go 2-6 hours away, and this causes major transportation issues when caravanning. We're heading for summer camp, and will have to ask parents to drive 2.5 hours to caravan, and then turn around and drive again 2.5 hours back home, only to have to come back up at the end of camp for pick-up. Gas has never been a problem, as we have a "gas fee" for the van (per boy), and now with parents driving, gas fees are difficult, as some drive and other boys are primarily riders.

    We are now looking into a church bus (under 15 passenger does not require CDL), but it raises its own issues.

    How do other Troops transport their Scouts to regular camp outs, as well as long distance trips?

  • #2
    We caravan. On a volunteer basis. If we don't have enough parents to drive, then all parents are responsible for getting their Scouts to and from the trip. (That has never happened). Think of it like sports. Plenty of youth league teams not based at a school require the parents to provide transportation, but ask Scouting parents to carpool and they balk. I don't understand the difference.

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    • #3
      We usually have enough drivers willing to camp with us direct contact adults to cover the boys who want to go. Most of our trips are within a 60 mile radius. The more distant ones are more challenging activities and attract fewer youth.

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      • #4
        I want to buy a charter bus off ebay

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        • #5
          Nothing over 12 passengers unless it is a real bus. Our CO has a bus that carries 16, I think, and that is ok. Caravans are not good. There is a greater risk of accidents, as I am told by my insurance guy, compared to driving individually. We never caravan.

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          • #6
            Do the search thing here. This is a regular discussion.
            Parents taking turns to drive is a good way to involve the parents in the activity /planning, so things are not just a drop off and run thing.
            Do not try to caravan or convoy. Make sure all drivers are properly licensed and insured (do the trip plan thing, usta be Trip Permit. Check with your DE and Council for details.). Responsible adults drive, not (sorry, son) just licensed 16 yearolds.... Give all drivers maps/directions, some Scout will love to be the "navigator", set regular stops to catchup and regroup for lunch so folks aren't tempted to try and "keep up". Exchange cell numbers for emergencies/contact/breakdowns . NOT while driving...

            Busses are good, but expensive. Who stables it? Who is in charge of licensing and inspections? Regular maintenance? A brake job on a schoolbus type vehicle can run into the thousands. My church's camp program has a fleet of 6 busses and ?6 p/us and suvs. Our Property Manager thinks he has a deal if he can buy a 18 year old decommissioned 20 seat schoolbus for, oh,$ 6K, put another 3 or 4K into it to pass the state inspections, repaint it and use it for 5 or 6 years to sell it out for $3K to someone else(? Nicaragua?) . Maybe he can Charter them out to a school or Meeting for a trip. And it will sit for weeks, months at a time. Is that worth the investment? If your CO has the means and the desire to own and be responsible for such a "fleet", wonderful, but one Troop, one bus? Think long and hard.....

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            • #7
              We have parents drive. We've had problems in the past where some parents GPS will take them on a slightly different route. Working on discipline of everyone taking the same route, so that if there is car trouble, at least someone in the troop may be able to help.

              I'm looking into using the Waze app (on android and apple), to help us keep track of one another on the drive. Has anyone used that during campout transportation?

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              • #8
                We have parents/leaders drive. Most of our leaders are also parents so we don't really have that dichotomy. Most of the leaders/parents who drive stay for the trip. This works out OK, one leader for about every five scouts. We do a decent job managing ourselves so that we stay out of the scouts way. For nearby trips some of the the parents, leaders or not, will drop off and then we try to share the work by having a different group pick up.

                We reimburse for gas and build that into the budget for the trip. Every time I've looked in to renting a large van the economics just didn't work.

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                • #9
                  I have seen several good buses on Ebay for around 13,000.

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                  • #10
                    Why on earth are 16 seat minibuses considered unsafe? We use them all the time over this side of the pond. Many scout groups own and operate their own, in my own scout group we've thought about buying many times but on balance we find renting them is the better option for us.

                    Cheers

                    Gareth

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                    • #11
                      The 15-16 seaters tend to be top-heavy and the suspensions wear quickly, so insurance companies aren't too fond of them.
                      Agree with SSScout, DON'T buy a bus!!! You WILL regret it! Search the topic for more info!

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                      • #12
                        "
                        The 15-16 seaters tend to be top-heavy and the suspensions wear quickly, so insurance companies aren't too fond of them.
                        This type of thing?


                        Cheers

                        Gareth

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                        • #13
                          Yes, a skilled driver and proper maintenance is key.

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                          • #14
                            Some states will not allow rented 15 passenger buses on their roads. I know for sure Iowa is one of them. Check the laws on such vehicles prior to traveling through multiple states. I had to put a ton of extra miles on a trip to by-pass Iowa a few years back.

                            Stosh

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                            • #15
                              Here's why they have been determined to be illegal in some places and not allowed by many organizaitons:

                              "According to the Quality Control Systems Corporation, from “1982 through 2008, there have been 724 fatal rollovers of 15-passenger vans in which an occupant of the van was killed in the United States. These crashes killed 1,153 persons and injured an additional 1,957. More than six thousand persons have been involved in fatal rollovers as drivers or passengers in the vans, of whom only 305 were known to be uninjured in these crashes.” The Quality Control Systems Corporation's statistics were drawn from data from the 1982-2008 Fatality Analysis Reporting System database and “involved model year 1981-2008 vans manufactured by Ford, Dodge / DaimlerChrysler, and General Motors / Chevrolet.”"

                              from: http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/ove...torney-lawsuit

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