Terms and Conditions

Quotations

Quotations are given on the basis of the most direct route and on information provided by the hirer. The route used will be at the discretion of the company unless it has been particularly specified by the hirer, in which case it will be clearly shown on the confirmation.

All quotations are given subject to the company having available a suitable vehicle at the time the hirer accepts the quotation. Quotations are valid for 28 days unless otherwise notified. Quotations are given for the coach and driver only. Any additional charges; for example ferry bookings, tolls and parking; will be separately identified and will be the hirer’s responsibility unless otherwise specified. A quotation may be revised if a customer changes the itinerary that will alter their mileage, involve a longer stay at the destination or add to the distance in miles to the route originally advised by the hirer to Empress Coaches.

Route and Time Variation

Any timings given by the company are given in good faith based on previous knowledge or calculations, but cannot be guaranteed. The company reserves the right to levy additional charges for additional mileage or time over and above that agreed. The charges will be pro rata subject to not involving a change of driver and subject to drivers’ daily rest pattern being able to be adhered to. The vehicle will depart at times agreed by the hirer and it is the responsibility of the hirer to account for all the passengers at those times. The company will not accept liability for any losses incurred by passengers who fail to follow instructions given by the hirer.

Booking Confirmation

All bookings will be confirmed by the company in writing, either by post or by email, accompanied by an invoice. It is the hirer’s responsibility to check all details shown on the quotation are correct and to advise of any changes that need to be made to us before the date of hire.

Payment

Any deposit requested must be paid by the date stated, and payment in full must be made 10 days before the start of the hire unless otherwise agreed by the company. Payment terms are the full balance of the hire fee and any additional fees paid or financial commitments made in advance by the company on behalf of the hirer, such as pre-booked ferries, Channel Tunnel trains & coach parking, will be required in full if the trip is cancelled by the hirer. We accept most major credit and debit cards, cash, BACS or cheques. We reserve the right to cancel a booking if payment has not been made within the timescale as per these terms.

The company reserve the right to add interest at the rate of 8% over the Bank of England base rate, compound interest per calendar month (or pro-rata), after the date by which payment should have been made. Payments made by credit card may be subject to 0.25% additional charge.

Late Bookings

Bookings made less than ten days before date of hire can only be accepted with full payment made by credit or debit card or cash. Cancellation of a late booking will incur a cancellation fee as detailed below.

Cancellation fees

Cancellation prior to day of hire must be made in writing, letter, fax or email, and be acknowledged by the company. Cancellation fees will be payable as follows:

  • Up to ten days before date of hire – loss of deposit (or 25% of hire where no deposit paid on booking).
  • Nine to five days before date of hire either 40% of hire, or no charge if trip re-booked for new date.
  • Four to two days before date of hire either 50% of hire, or no charge if trip re-booked for new date.
  • One day before date of hire – either 70% of hire or no charge if trip re-booked for new date.
  • On day of hire – 100% cancellation fee.

Surcharges

Once a confirmation of booking has been issued to the hirer, providing there are 30 days or more prior to the date of hire, the company reserves the right to pass on increases in the cost of fuel, taxes imposed by the UK Governments (and other countries to be visited if applicable), road tolls and foreign currency (if applicable). No surcharges will be levied within 30 days of the day of hire. On notification of such surcharges, the hirer may cancel the booking subject to the scale of cancellation charges shown previously. The liability of the company will be limited to the cost of the hire and any ancillary services supplied.

Agency Arrangements

Where the company hires in vehicles from other operators at the request of the hirer and where the company arranges ancillary facilities such as meals, ferries, admission tickets or any other services provided by another supplier, it does so as agent for and on behalf of the hirer. Any terms and conditions imposed by such other suppliers through the company shall, insofar as they are supplied to the hirer, be binding on the hirer as if he/she had directly contracted such services and the hirer shall indemnify the company against any loss, claim, damage or award in respect of a breach of such suppliers terms and conditions brought about by the hirer’s action.

Cancellation by the Company

In exceptional circumstances, for example, an unforeseen closure of the venue the party were due to visit, heavy snow, adverse weather conditions, cancellation of ferry crossings or other ‘acts of God’, the group have a choice of either going back home, for which we will offer a 50% refund on the coach fare as this is deemed as an ‘act of God’ with negotiations then being held for the Ferry/tunnel operators to provide a suitable future alternative date to travel. A new booking for coach hire would have to be made. In the event of any emergency, riot, war, civil commotion, strike, lock out, stoppage or restraint of labour or on the happening of any event over which the company has no control (including adverse weather and road conditions) or in the event of the hirer taking any action to vary agreed conditions unilaterally, the company may, by returning all money paid and without further or other liability, cancel the hire although the hirer will still be liable for any additional fees such as pre-booked ferry crossings, pre-booked coach parking etc.

Vehicle to be Provided

The company reserve the right to provide a larger vehicle than that specified at no additional charge unless any extra seats are used in which case an additional pro rata charge will be made to the hire charge. The company reserve the right to substitute another vehicle (including those of other operators) or ancillary facilities for all or part of the hiring subject to the substitutes being of equivalent quality.

Use of Vehicles

The hirer cannot assume use of the vehicle between outward and return journeys, nor to remain at the destination for the hirer’s use unless this has been agreed with the company in advance.

Breakdowns & Delays

The company gives its advice on journey times in good faith, but does not guarantee the completion of any journey at a specific time and will not be liable for loss or inconvenience caused by breakdown or other delay (e.g. traffic or weather conditions). We cannot be held responsible for any delays to your journey where other suppliers are operating that particular part of the journey (eg Shuttle/Ferry etc). However, we shall try and make good any time lost. In the event of a delay or breakdown situation we shall endeavour to provide a replacement coach as quickly as possible. We cannot be held liable for any loss of time or inconvenience as a result.

Driver's hours

The hours of operation for the driver are regulated by law and the hirer accepts the responsibility of ensuring the hire keeps to the hours and times agreed by the company. Neither the hirer nor any passenger shall delay or otherwise interrupt the journey in such a way that the driver is at risk of breaching regulations relating to driving hours and duty time. If any breach is likely to occur, the hirer will be responsible for any additional costs incurred unless it is outside the control of the hirer.

Seating Capacity

The company will, at the time of booking, agree and specify the legal capacity of the vehicle to be supplied. The hirer must not load the vehicle beyond its capacity. The company reserves the right to operate a vehicle with a larger capacity than that requested.

Conveyance of Animals

On a private hire, no animals (other than guide dogs and hearing dogs notified to the company in advance) may be carried on any vehicle without prior written agreement from the company.

Airport/Port transfers

We allow for one medium size suitcase per person. If excessive quantities of luggage are required to be transported, the company must be informed as a larger vehicle may be required for legal reasons of space and weight and there may be an additional charge to the customer for the use of a larger coach.

Passengers Property

All vehicles hired out by the company are subject to restrictions on carrying luggage for statutory safety reasons. The hirer accepts that the driver shall be the sole judge as to whether and to what extent passengers’ property is carried. Large, bulky items may not be able to be carried and the hirer should take all steps to notify the company in advance of such requirements. The driver may refuse to lift any item he/she feels unable to safely carry. The company accepts any personal property of the hirer and their passengers on the understanding that it will take all reasonable steps to avoid loss or damage. Any property left in the vehicle whilst the property’s owner is not present is left entirely at the property owner’s risk. The company cannot be held liable for unattended property left in the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The hirer should notify the company or the driver if items of exceptional value are to be carried on the vehicle. It is the hirer’s responsibility to minimise risk of loss when property is left unattended. The company’s liability for loss or damage, however caused, is limited to £50 per bag, case or package and an overall limit of £100 (overall claim value) maximum per passenger. It is the responsibility of the hirer to ensure that items over this value are insured separately for loss and damage. All articles of lost property recovered from a vehicle will be held for one calendar month at the company’s depot and the customer must make arrangements for its collection as the customer’s expense. Items unclaimed after one calendar month will be disposed of. Fireworks, explosive materials or combustible petroleum fuels must not be carried under any circumstances. Anyone found to have such items will be refused carriage.

Conduct of passengers

We operate a no-smoking policy, and the consumption of food and drink is not permitted whilst on board. Passengers must treat the driver and other passengers with respect and due consideration. The driver is responsible for the safety of the vehicle at all times, and as such may remove any passenger whose behaviour prejudices safety or is in breach of the Public Service Vehicle (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990. The hirer is responsible for any damage caused to the vehicle by any passenger for the duration of the hire. Where the hire is to a sporting event, the hirer should be aware of the legal requirements relating to alcohol contained in the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol) Act 1995 and the condition of entry to race courses as laid down by the Race Course Association Ltd. (The law states “Alcohol may not be carried on a vehicle attending sporting events”). If a passenger is unruly or intoxicated, the driver may at their own discretion refuse to allow that person back on the vehicle for the return journey on reasons of safety to them and fellow passengers. It will be their own responsibility to make alternative arrangements to get back to their destination.

Safety Policy

All passengers must remain seated whilst the vehicle is in motion. No luggage or personal possessions may be left in a gangway or obstruct an emergency exit. Any items the driver considers too large for the interior of the vehicle must be stowed in the luggage compartment. No items of rubbish etc. may be thrown from the vehicle. All Empress Coaches vehicles are regularly safety checked so as to comply with the terms of our operator’s licence and the Road Traffic Act. Driver’s licences are monitored to comply with road traffic requirements and that of our insurers.

Seat Belts

It is a legal requirement for all passengers of 14 years and over to wear a seatbelt. All Empress Coaches are fitted with seat belts.

Continental travel

Passport, Visa & Customs Requirements

It is the hirer’s responsibility to ensure that all passengers have a current passport and any visa requirements that pertain to your journey. Tobacco, alcohol etc. should only be purchased for your OWN use. Persons found to be carrying more than the recommended allowance (see below), risk having goods confiscated and being refused return travel. Return will be at the expense and arrangement of the aforementioned person.

Passengers must return to the coach at the time advised for by the driver when disembarking. If any passenger is late or does not return at the allocated time they may have to be left behind so that the rest of the party can still arrive at their destination or allocated time for return ferry/tunnel crossings. Any additional waiting time, and extra costs for missing a crossing will be charged to the hirer.

For duty free items, a limit of 2-3 cases of wine or beer may be imposed on hypermarket trips depending on demand by the group to ensure that the vehicle is not overweight for the return journey. HM Revenue and Customs will confiscate any goods that deem to make a coach excessive in overall weight if checked.

In the event of arrival at Eurotunnel or a Port where crossings are not be running due to adverse weather or other unforeseen events, the group have a choice of either going back home, for which we will offer a 50% refund on the coach fare as this is deemed as an ‘act of God’ with negotiations then being held for the Ferry/tunnel operators to provide a suitable future alternative date to travel. A new booking for coach hire would have to be made. If the hirer chooses to wait the same day for a possible later crossing, they may well have to pay an fee for a second relief driver later in the day if the allocated driver runs out of driving hours due to a result of the earlier delays.

Package Travel Regulations

If the hirer organises other elements of a package in addition to the provision of transport, the hirer may be defined as an “organiser” or a “retailer” for the purpose of the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 and as such may be required to comply with the provisions of those regulations. In this instance, the company cannot accept any liability that may be incurred for losses or damage that it would otherwise accept under the terms of those regulations. The hirer accepts responsibility for ensuring whether they are so defined and the company cannot accept liability for loss or damage incurred that should have been the responsibility of the hirer if the hirer was the legally defined organiser or retailer.

Complaints

If you have a complaint about our service it must be submitted in writing within seven days of the date of hire. We will aim to work with the hirer to find an amicable, agreeable solution to both parties.

English Law

Bookings are only accepted in accordance with these Terms & Conditions and in as much as that the law of England shall apply to the contract arising from such an order and to the determination of the rights and liabilities of the respective parties and in that no action or other proceedings shall be brought by either party in relation to such contract except in a Court of Competent Jurisdiction in England.

Variations to Terms & Conditions

These will only be valid if made in writing before the date of departure by a proper officer of the company. No employee, agent, servant or representative of this company has any authority to waiver or vary these conditions and any written or verbal representation thus made will not be valid.