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Answers to some Frequently Asked Questions

Inspectors' FAQ

Our Mission
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Here are answers to some of the questions you may have about the National Association of Road Transport Museums' project to grade the nation's historic buses and coaches. We also hope to answer specific questions in our forthcoming podcast - please get in touch via our channels.

Will the ‘most important’ survivors be automatically protected by grading?


No - our grading is a tool to help ensure the vehicles which best tell the national story are given the recognition they deserve. Grading can help to unlock funds, prioritise resources and build a case for long-term survival, but the fate of vehicles is ultimately in the hands of their owners and custodians.


Should the ‘least important’ survivors be scrapped?

No – absolutely not! The project’s aim is to enhance the future prospects of those vehicles which best tell the UK’s bus and coach story. It is not to condemn others. Every historic bus has survived for a reason and the importance of individual vehicles to their owners and fans is not in dispute.


Will owners and curators have a say in the scoring and grading?

Yes – The Bus Inspectors are making pre-arranged visits to collections and are carrying out their scoring with the co-operation of owners, custodians and curators. After all, these people are best placed to explain the history of their vehicles.


Will the scoring be consistent and objective?

Yes - The Bus Inspectors will gather information and award preliminary scores during their site-visits, based on a very objective scoring system. These scores will later be moderated by a small team within the National Association of Road Transport Museums (NARTM) to ensure the system is consistently applied and grades will be awarded based on final scores. Inspectors will not score their own collections.


Are The Bus Inspectors experts in historic buses and coaches?

Yes – the Inspectors themselves are all knowledgeable volunteers from within the NARTM community. Their collective knowledge of buses and coaches spans the generations from the dawn of the motorbus to the present day. Most are heavily involved with a museum or collection of their own and many have been involved in designing and refining the Scoring and Grading system.


Are private collections included in the project?

Initially, Scoring and Grading is taking place within the membership of NARTM, whose museums and collections comprise more than 6,000 vehicles. Our longer-term ambition is to score and grade as many as possible of the 10,000 vehicles which are known by NARTM to exist in preservation.


Will a vehicle’s score/grade change with time?

Conceivably yes, as context changes. The present tour is our first attempt to score and grade the nation’s buses, but it is likely the scores will need to be kept under review in the future.

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