Bus and coach guidance
New requirements for bus and coach operators – referred to as Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) operators in the FORS Standard – have been introduced in the FORS Standard version 5 as the scheme continues to expand its remit to an increasing range of commercial vehicle operators.
What is FORS and why is it for you?
FORS is a voluntary accreditation scheme for fleet operators, which aims to raise the level of quality within fleet operations and to demonstrate which operators are achieving exemplary levels of best practice in safety, efficiency and environmental protection.
Becoming a FORS member can bring you peace of mind that your company is managing its work related road risk (WRRR) – and demonstrates to your customers and supply chain your commitment to exceeding the industry standard.
The FORS Standard sets out the requirements you need to meet in order to attain and maintain your accreditation. This should be read in conjunction with the Rules and Procedures manual and FORS Terms and Conditions.
Five key benefits of FORS accreditation
1. STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
If you were a transport buyer required to choose between two operators, who would you appoint? Would you select the one whose safety record and environmental practices you knew nothing of? Or the one whose FORS accreditation proved a commitment to good practice in all aspects of the business, including road safety, sustainability issues and many other aspects of corporate social responsibility? Who’s going to win the new business? It’s a no-brainer for the transport buyer.
2. IMPROVE YOUR ROAD SAFETY RECORD
Dedicated FORS Professional training equips your managers and drivers with the skills and knowledge to improve their work related road safety and to reduce the risk of collisions with other motor vehicles and, crucially, vulnerable road users.
Become FORS accredited and access safety specific tool, guides and training courses, that help you improve your work related road safety. FORS accreditation can lead to insurance premium reduction.
“We believe it is our duty to demonstrate that we operate over and above our legal requirements, while taking health and safety and the protection of vulnerable road users as paramount. Since joining FORS over those years we have not only grown the business significantly we have reduced all our insurance claims and developed strong relationships with the insurance industry. This in turn has reduced our insurance costs by 25% in the last five years and included ‘low claim rebates’ in the last four years. This is when other operators’ have seen increases in their premiums. So it makes sense in working closely with a good broker who will find you the right insurance company that will reward you for reducing risk. The insurance cost savings alone , can fund any investments in the business for your best practice commitment.” Jason Thornton, Associate Director, First Choice
3. REDUCE FUEL CONSUMPTION; INCREASE EFFICIENCY
FORS Professional provides classroom training and eLearning modules for managers and drivers covering environmental best practice. FORS also provides best practice toolkits helping to put you one step ahead of the competition. Expert advice on the latest technologies and systems will provide tangible efficiencies. Dedicated driver training will promote defensive, more economic driving, leading to reduced fuel costs. FORS accreditation can lead to insurance premium reduction.
4. ENSURE COMPLIANCE
Make use of FORS Affinity Partner products to meet your legal obligations and ensure you remain compliant with the FORS Standard. FORS Fleet Management System, powered by FleetCheck, delivers a comprehensive platform enabling complete vehicle, driver and organisation management. Operators have a duty-of-care by law to check their drivers’ competency and capability. FORS Driver Licence Checking Service, delivered in partnership with Licence Bureau Limited, provides preferential rates to members.
5. GREATER INDUSTRY ‘KNOW HOW’ AND NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES
With fortnightly eNews, monthly training eNews and a regular magazine, FORS members receive insider knowledge on how the scheme is changing the industry and where potential opportunities lie for you. Through funded and discounted FORS Professional training, managers and drivers will have the chance to meet, swap tips and network with other industry professionals.
There are three levels of FORS accreditation
Bronze – good operators demonstrating lawfulness and best practice – this is the entry level of accreditation
Silver – quality operators committing to improving safety, environmental impact and efficiency – this is the intermediate level of accreditation
Gold – exceptional operators providing evidence of improvements in safety, environmental impact and efficiency – this is the highest level of accreditation
The Standard and specific requirements
The FORS Standard sets out the requirements you need to meet in order to attain and maintain your accreditation. There are four key areas to the FORS Standard:
Bus and coach operators must meet all of the requirements of the FORS Standard relevant to their level of accreditation; however, there are some specific requirements for bus and coach operators:
Vehicles - V5.2 Load safety for PCV
Vehicles - V6 Vehicle safety equipment
FORS Professional development for PCV drivers
The FORS mandatory driver training listed in Annex 1.2 is required in order to meet FORS Bronze requirements D4 and FORS Silver requirements S5. At Silver, both Bronze and Silver mandatory training requirements apply. At Gold, Bronze, Silver and Gold mandatory training requirements apply. For drivers of more than one vehicle type, FORS operators must meet the FORS mandatory training requirements for all relevant vehicle types.
PCV drivers must complete the following training:
If an operator or training provider has training packages that would help to raise the standards of bus and coach operators, then please contact FORS. Any suitable training may be approved and accepted by FORS as a way of demonstrating compliance with the relevant FORS requirement.
The purpose of the Bronze audit is to make sure that the operator FORS accredits meets specific exacting standards. The audit process is about providing evidence of systems, procedures and documentation that demonstrate your company can meet the required standard of entry into FORS Bronze accreditation. To ensure that you are maintaining the FORS Standard, on-site re-approval audits are conducted annually for Bronze, every two years for Silver and every two years for Gold. The Silver and Gold re-approval audits are submitted online annually.
Passing your audit and becoming FORS accredited not only means you are contributing to creating and maintaining higher standards within the transport industry but your business will benefit from being safer and more fuel efficient.
Support for undertaking your audit can be found in the FORS audit toolkit.
How much does it cost?
Your FORS fee is made up of the annual subscription fee (based on your fleet size) and an audit fee (based on the number of operating centres accredited. Use the Fees link to access more details.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am an existing FORS member and have PCVs in my fleet but I have never declared these before. Do I need to?
Do I have to display the FORS ID graphic on my vehicles?
What support is available to help me meet the FORS requirements?
How to apply
If you would like to join FORS, you must register by completing the FORS application form. It can be accessed via the FORS website or a hard copy can be requested by email from: firstname.lastname@example.org
At registration and on each anniversary you will need to pay the relevant annual membership fee, details of which are available on the FORS membership and audit fees page.
Once you have completed your application form, you have 90 days to request, undertake and pass your Bronze audit.