PROFILE | HAILSTONE TRAVEL
miniplus.co.uk | January 2019 | 25
Storm: 19 seater minibus
Lightning: 16 seater minibus
With an additional box trailer available on
The seven vehicles – set to become eight at
the time of miniplus’ visit, with the delivery
of a 68-plate in December – boast full-size
leather seats, air-conditioning and good
leg room, as well as on-board CCTV from
Transport Technology Systems, something
the team fully recommends.
“CCTV is worth the investment,” Tina says.
“It’s not just for passengers, but for drivers
and operators too. I wouldn’t operate a
vehicle without it now.”
CCTV has useful deterrence and
investigative value. Lawrence explains how
the exterior cameras have enabled the firm
to see when a vehicle has driven into one of
its parked minibuses, and an interior camera
has allowed the directors to see and monitor
when drivers have developed poor driving
habits – such as reading a map at the wheel.
Hailstone Travel has grown with the times,
evolving with new technologies where
appropriate. As well as CCTV, all of Hailstone
Travel’s fleet is fitted with GPS tracking
devices from Navman.
Lawrence says: “There are many benefits
to having trackers on the vehicles; it’s good
for seeing which vehicles are out and where
they are at certain times. It’s also good to
have in case vehicles are stolen.”
Tracking systems also enable easy contact
with drivers. Lawrence explains that if a
driver is running late, those in the office are
able see where they are.
Eggs in one basket
The firm, which has an O-Licence for 11
vehicles, is keen to not put “all of its eggs in
one basket” – emphasising that with more
vehicles comes more responsibility and
overheads. And with a national shortage
of drivers, there’s another reason why
expansion is not on the table for Hailstone
“It’s a struggle to find quality drivers,”
Lawrence says. However, he adds that the
business is not “desperate either”, and would
rather make cuts to the size of the operation
than hire a driver that is not up to standard –
and Tina agrees with this.
Hailstone Travel has a mix of 10 drivers,
both young and old, that work on a casual,
full-time and part-time basis. That’s not
including their daughter, Holly, who also
holds a PCV licence and drives for the
business when she’s available.
“The mix of drivers is good,” Tina says.
“The older ones would rather get their work
done early and the younger ones would
rather start later, so it works for us. And
1. Full-size seats are
installed across the fleet,
as is opulent full leather
2. All vehicles have
and display CoachMarque
we’re small enough to work with the driver’s
Tackle the shortage
Although Hailstone Travel has the drivers,
Lawrence and Tina acknowledge there is a
shortage of them in the industry. Tina says
that there are drivers out there, however, it
could be argued that only some are up to the
standard – especially for what is expected for
drivers at Hailstone Travel.
However, Tina has an idea on how to
tackle the issue of driver shortages; make it a
By making it a government scheme, she
says it could take those out of unemployment
– and those who want to join the industry
but cannot afford to gain the qualifications
needed – and put them into full-time
She adds that the benefits that those
unemployed receive could help fund the
scheme, as well as the government making
income from the scheme with what it
receives from a full-time worker’s taxes.
There are many schemes and associations
available to professionals in the industry:
Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT),
Coach Marque, DVSA Earned Recognition and
Both Tina and Lawrence have high praise
for CPT, saying that it’s “a good organisation”,
but the pair think that members should be
held to a certain standard if they want to join.
One scheme that does make sure
operators are of a standard is DVSA’s Earned
Recognition (ER) scheme.
Members of the scheme are required to
regularly share information with DVSA. In
return, their vehicles are less likely to be
stopped for roadside inspections.
Hailstone Travel is not part of the ER