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Minibus with driver from UK to Alps

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Has anyone any experience is organising a minibus with driver to take 10-14 people plus luggage from UK (Hertfordshire) to Alps and then collect us 1 week later. I know flights can be quite cheap but when you include cost of luggage, taxi’s/airport parking in the UK, car hire/transfers on the other side etc,ete, i wonder if the cost is much different?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@1556garyt, Any commercial minibus transfer from UK to the Alps would need to comply with UK and EU regulations on driving hours and I expect a single driver would need to take rest breaks en route which would lengthen the duration of your journey. That's why as far as I know the larger coach services that operate between the UK and Europe have two drivers.

Edit: It seems EU regulations require at least 45 mins break from driving after no more than 4.5 hours of driving.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Mon 25-02-19 23:49; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
You could get a quote from reputable company, they should be able to deal with all the regulatory elements for you to make an offer.

Talking to an ambulance driver at services near Riems on travel back last year, they had two drivers on board to fulfill legal requirements of driving hours. Was returning from 3V for the second time that week to repatriate injured client!

Anything with more than nine seats (I think) is classified in EU as different category from casual minibus type vehicle.

Man hours for the down time would probably take a lot of cost, maybe cheaper to pay for ski holiday for the two drivers Very Happy
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Why not self drive a 14 seater minibus?
If there is 10-14 of you, I would assume there are enough drivers to alternate to avoid breaks.

Avoid the commercial aspect by having a paid driver & the extra requirements, etc. needed to carry paying customers.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I would be looking at the @Mr.Egg route as well. The drive down is really easy and with two or three drivers you could literally just swap over in an aire and keep the journey time down. The complication would be winter tyres and chains for the other end I guess.
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@Mr.Egg, its the legislation that could prevent this. I don't know exactly what they say but thought that any vehicle over 9 seats required driver licensing other than conventional level.

That may be wrong, but it's definitely tied in even with type of vehicle offered for sale into the market over there. A friend with a chalet has to comply.

Needs more information to assess it fully I feel.
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Drive yourself I would think. I organised a golf trip to the ryder cup last year in Paris. We had to have 2 drivers. We would all be drinking and we had stops and golf to play on the way, but a 16 seat bus, for 10 of us, ( you will need more seats than people for all the gear) was just short of £3000. We did have lots a ferrying included in this, but it was only for 5 days. You would be paying for 2 drivers for 8 days. You would also need snow tyres fitted. Unlikely over here I think. Fly and hire I would have thought, or fly and minibus hire.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
If prohibited, then perhaps two minibus would be workable solution.

As a group we've taken one hired minibus before, and with three driving, it's a pretty easy run overnight. And no additional accomandation needed on route.
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I suspect it would be considerably cheaper for those concerned to drive down in their own cars than to pay for two return journeys for a big vehicle and two drivers.
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IIRC The 8 passenger rule ( D1, note 101 ), is applicable of the driver is doing it for hire or reward.
If you are not being paid then you should be ok.
The company from whom you hire it will be able confirm the regulations.
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If you decide to hire minibuses and self drive, I suggest you take a test drive in the exact vehicle before renting it.
There is a huge difference in the quality/comfort of the seats and ride, even from the same manufacturer!
Some have 'crew bus' seats which I certainly wouldn't want to sit in for 10 or 12hours ...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@WindOfChange, The age of the people in the group may be important too, older driving licences have more vehicle categories allowed by default.
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You could hire a 15/16/17 seater minibus but would need a D1 category on yr licence. The bus would be fitted with a speed limiter set to 100 kmph

Can't see how getting a company to make 2 trips would be viable.

If you are taking a large number with ski kit and luggage then weight will also be a big limiting factor.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
There are plenty of Hire Companies in the UK that will hire you a 12 Seater minibus which you can drive on your Car License as long as it is not for "Hire or Reward", but it only becomes cost effective over a long period. Using https://www.nationwidehireuk.co.uk/minibuses-for-hire/ford-minibus-12-seater-manual-7289/ as an example, you'd need a minimum of 8 days plus 2 drivers to get you to the Alps and back, which is going to cost you around £1500 to book. Then add on fuel, tolls and Train/Ferry fares and you're already up around the £2300 mark. Then add, a charge for driving in Europe, extra insurance costs and some form of "Winterisation" and the Golfing Trip above starts to look cheap for a week. Obviously most of those are one off costs and if you're going to spend 3 weeks or more in the Alps then it becomes better value.

If you really want a cheap option then commercial coach companies are probably best: https://www.ouibus.com/ runs services from London to Bourg St Maurice for example for less than £70 each way. But why bother if you can fly mid-week?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

But why bother if you can fly mid-week?

Be aware that mid-week flights can complicate finding accommodation. But ideal if you can sort it out.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
or fly to Geneva and train under station into Zermatt centre. 'Let the train take the strain'. I am old, and did not know JS.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for responses.

The idea started with me thinking about how much time one spends travelling from the point of leaving home in UK until getting to Chalet/Apartment in the Alps; driving to airport, parking, waiting for flights, car hire on other side, driving to resort etc, etc... plus the costs, particularly of weekend flights in February make the whole process slow and expensive.

That said I have just come back from half term trip (admittedly Monday to Monday flights) where airport parking, flights, van hire and fuel came in at under£3k for 9 of us so probably best cost/benefit option??
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hi, I am shortly going to qualify as a full D licence coach and minibus driver and will be looking to start a business to take private hire trips to the northern French Alps combined with work as a qualified level 2 ski instructor.
I would love to hear from anyone with either a full D licence that wants to have ski weeks or a level 2 ski instructor who wants occasional work abroad who I could put through their mini bus D licence to drive on the continent.
For details contact Brian Moncaster at brianmoncaster67@gmail.com.
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There is an overnight coach service from London Victoria directly to many resorts in France. Cost is £99 pp in a modern coach. UK connections are available with National Express. I don’t think organising your own minibus and driver would be much cheaper when all costs are accounted and should be much more comfortable than a minibus.

https://www.snowexpress.co.uk/
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Not sure that I asked that? You haven’t got a D licence then or a ski qualification?
My concepts and business plan are fairly simple and unique and for the most part well thought out private motives but I already have significant feedback and interest from ski dwellers and groups that would prefer a door to door service without the hassle, inconvenience, jeopardy and awkwardness of other means of transport for a similar if not ultimately cheaper cost when other transfer costs, taxis, drop offs, etc have been taken into account. I think to assume that only 1 travel scenario suits all parties is a mistake and this will prove popular and perfect for some but not all!
The minibus would be the luxury end of the market with tables, leather recliners etc and other in bus conveniences and being private hire you would have the knowledge and reassurance that those around you are
familiar if not friends in most cases.Also a time schedule that can be tailored to your requirements.
So, contact please if you are interested and can answer yes to my first question? All other questions considered!
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@Brian Moncaster, @Ozboy's post doesn't reply to yours but it is relevant to the thread you've tried to hijack. rolling eyes

If you start a new thread you might get more relevant (but not necessarily helpful) responses.
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@sugarmoma666, ++1
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@1556garyt, Have you considered going by coach? Just a thought. https://www.hucksterslodge.com/holiday-extras/uk-snow-coach/


Embarassed edit - I see someone else mentioned coach!
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I've done several family trips by coach - a very good solution if it takes you to your accommodation. Cost compared to flights plus transfers is attractive. Not so much if you just get dumped somewhere and then have to organise onward travel.

@Brian Moncaster, are you aware of all the complications of working in France as a ski instructor? Even whilst we're still in the EU.
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Hi, not sure a reply to CaravanSkier is necessary. It’s not my holiday but a lifestyle choice business through the winter months!
As posted on another thread I opened, I only plan to ski instruct in Italy through to the Aosta Valley. I’m pleased you see the value of a door to door ski option with the emphasis on full seamless service and contact.
Thanks.
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Just 30 seconds on Skyscanner shows you can fly from London to Geneva in January 2020 for £35 / €40.

No idea why anyone would want to spend 24hrs on a coach crawling along like a snail and stinking like a sweaty flipflop.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Lol, why would you think it takes 24 hours to get to the Alps by coach, @Whitegold? Or why it should make you stink. Flying on Saturdays tends to be a lot more expensive, and it leaves you an expensive, crowded, slow, trip from the ski resorts. A coach which drops you and your luggage outside your chalet can be a really good way to travel. I have mostly driven to the Alps - sometimes in one hop, and quite frequently as a sole driver. With reasonable weather it can be a great trip, eating up the miles at 130 kph under a starry sky, on empty motorways, with your own music, own snacks, own company! I have also acted as transfer driver for people arriving at, or departing from, Geneva airport which can be a relatively rue du Faubourg St-Honorépainless way of doing it, on a quiet Tuesday. Flying to the Alps on Saturdays can be a very different experience - I always told friends who came to my apartment that if they flew on a Saturday, they were on their own.

There is no painless way of doing it - and thankfully there are lots of different options, for different folks.

A minibus has to be one of the least desirable ways, in my opinion! A coach, with two professional drivers, is a decent option (though when professional drivers turn out to be thoroughly incompetent with snowchains, it can slow you up a fair bit!).

I've only done it once by train - overnight sleeper - not a bad option, and fortunately though we had to kill 6 hours in Paris a friend was the British Ambassador at the time so we had tea at the Residence in the rue du Faubourg St-Honoré.... Little Angel
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Hi, as already stated that that there are many varying prefences and considerations when planning a ski trip which work for some and not others.
Just to take the negative aspects of one without balance and informed opinion is misleading and largely irrelevant.
Pam W makes some very valid points based upon experience and an open mind.
Not all minibus’s are the same and I certainly not like the ones you would put the school rugby team in for a fixture!
Just google luxury minibus for hire and I think you might have a different perspective.
The USP is being missed a little bit which is Door to Door.
Thanks.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Not sure there is a sustainable market that will justify door to door over being in a lux minibus for 12 hours.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Ozboy, thank you for your response but I didn’t post to justify my business plan or have to explain the details but suffice it to say there is significant positive feedback from many who understand convenience and stress free travel door to door.
It’s no different than the huge sustainable market that travel by coach in comfort each year without the hassle of transfers. taxis and connections with all the awkwardness that that entails.
So I take it your not a ski instructor or hold a D licence?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Brian Moncaster, no I am neither but do value door to door - we drive. I am guessing but think most on here ether drive or use a travel company and are happy to do so. The DIY’ers, of which I am one on weekends, are happy with a c. 6-7 hour door to door flying to and from closest airports. Perhaps you should look at a ski industry recruitment site?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Honestly, thank you for your constructive advice. You may well be right but I am already looking at connections through BASI, skiclubs and bus/coach driver companies etc and your suggestion is an excellent one.
The snowheads site is a mass of well intentioned snowspoets enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes so to speak and I welcome all the positive feedback. I accept that one size does not fit all so I wouldn’t presume that all on the site have your perspective and are not capable of looking at all options on its merits depending on individual circumstances, cost and convenience. Sometimes change and an open mind can be enlightening.
Enough people still choose to travel by coach or are tired of the self drive but want a low cost option to travel to the resort with luggage and equipment. This is a viable affordable proposition which offers up to 8 days skiing for groups who would benefit from the tailored and personal door to door service whilst maintaining a high standard of luxury and comfort. By the way it is only part of an overall lifestyle business 12 months of the year offering groups with sporting interests to access real opportunities to pursue their passion and pastime,be it snowsports, kayaking, golf, rugby, netball, hockey, cheer, dance etc etc.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Brian Moncaster, I am sure there is a market for what you are offering. Gut feeling your average SH isn't in that target market. Good luck with your venture
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Boris wrote:
Gut feeling your average SH isn't in that target market. Good luck with your venture
I'd agree, and by the looks of the above the average SH is far too cynical and argumentative to want to spend 6/8/12/24 hrs cooped up in a minibus with, luxury or not. Laughing
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Brian Moncaster, I am part of a london cycling club and can see how your service would benefit us on our annual trip to the alps where transporting bikes is always an issue. Cyclists don’t really like to be separated from bikes and flying risks damaging expensive equipment. In the past we’ve had them shipped separately by van which has caused all sorts of separation anxiety issues and loss or riding time when bikes turned up 24 hours late. Best of luck with the venture.
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Now there’s some reasoned thinking I can get on board with. All valid points, I’m sure that with a subscription list of possibly 10s of thousands I would just hope for a few to fill my bus for whom the circumstances work perfectly. Isn’t that how Waitrose survives? Just a few not the average..... not that I’m going for that same clientele obviously. I’m only one man with a bus.... at the moment!
Many thanks for the suggestion Ozboy about the cyclists. I will be adding class e to my licence for trailers so that I can tow kayaks and I’m sure I can find the appropriate secure trailer to lock bikes in safely. As an owner of a specialized elite, perhaps another trip I can get involved in? I’m on brianmoncaster67@gmail.com if you want to drop me a message when you looking to get organised. I think that fits in perfectly with my concept.
Cheers.
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@Ozboy, I know it’s not a cycling website but what would be your group size that would ‘slum it’ in a luxury minibus with leather recliners, tables, WiFi, dvd access etc? And how much are you spending currently per person getting you and your bike to the start line so to speak?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Call me sad but I can’t see how you’ll make this work?

£100 each for 12 peeps is £1200 for week. Out of which you’ll have to pay yourself, second driver, fuel, insurance inc public liability et, breakdown cover. Plus if you’re driving back, that’s a day you can’t be taking people out. Unless you had two buses and other drivers. In which case costs go up.

I think you’d have to charge a lot more to make it viable. And that will be out of most people’s reach then.

I’m sure there is a small niche market for you however. Good luck
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Brian Moncaster wrote:
Hi, not sure a reply to CaravanSkier is necessary. It’s not my holiday but a lifestyle choice business through the winter months!
As posted on another thread I opened, I only plan to ski instruct in Italy through to the Aosta Valley. I’m pleased you see the value of a door to door ski option with the emphasis on full seamless service and contact.
Thanks.


I was confused, I did not understand you were putting forward a business plan!
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Having cycle toured a lot, both uk and abroad, i agree with the above idea about group cycle transport. If you could do it cheaper per person than a car with 4 bikes on the roof it could be a winner. Bikes are less readily hireable than skis so its a real issue as ozboy says.
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