Whilst we might primarily deal in cars we know that’s not all that our customers drive. Which is why we’ve answered the most commonly asked minibus driving questions below, which will help you know whether or not you’re able and ready to get behind the wheel.
What is Classed as a Minibus?
A minibus is a vehicle that has between seven and 30 passenger seats. This means that a minibus can vary in size from something equivalent to a large people carrier to almost a full-sized bus.
Am I Able to Drive a Minibus?
The answer to this one is a little more complicated as it depends on when you got your driving licence, your age, the size of the minibus and why you are driving it.
Any driver with a full UK car driving licence will be able to drive a minibus that has up to eight passenger seats under their B1 entitlement. But to drive a larger minibus they will need to have an additional entitlement. To drive anything with up to 16 seats you will need a D1 entitlement on your licence, and for anything larger you will also need a Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) qualification.
If you are old enough to have passed your driving test between 1990 and 1997 they you will automatically have an A entitlement on your licence, which will let you drive a minibus without needing the D1 qualification.
For drivers who passed their test after 1997 you will need to apply for a D1 entitlement. One thing to be mindful of though is if there is a 101 next to the D1 entitlement on your licence then you won’t be able to drive a minibus for hire or reward (e.g. as a taxi service) without applying for additional permits.
Something else to be aware of is that if you’re under 21 years old then you won’t be able to drive a minibus, except in a very few rare circumstances and with a PCV qualification. These circumstances are:
- If driving a passenger vehicle out of service without passengers, such as delivering / collecting a rental vehicle
- Driving on a regular service where the speed limit does not exceed 50 km (approx. 30 mph)
- Driving a vehicle that can carry no more than 16 passengers under a PSV operator licence or Section 19 or 22 permit
Any driver who is over 70 years old will need to be able to meet the D1 driving standard to be able to drive a minibus.
What Does My Driving Licence Need to Show to Drive a Minibus?
As we’ve mentioned what your driving licence needs to show will depend on when it was issued to you.
For drivers who passed their test between 1990 and 1997 you will need a Category A entitlement.
For drivers who passed after 1997 your licence will need a D1 entitlement.
Can I Drive a Minibus Commercially?
If you need to drive a minibus commercially, even if it is not for hire and reward, then you will need a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). To get a CPC you will need to complete 35 hours of training and this will need to be completed every five years to keep the certification valid.
If you are not driving for hire and reward but are charging a nominal fee to cover the cost of running and maintaining the vehicle then you’ll need to apply for a permit under Section 19 or Section 22 of the Transport Act 1985. These permits will be provided to the businesses rather than a specific driver or vehicle and can be moved between the vehicles if multiple are in operation.
A Section 19 Permit is for educational and other bodies that are using a minibus without the intention of profiting from passengers. It cannot be used for vehicles that carry members of the general public but only members of their organisation.
A Section 22 Permit is for bodies concerned with social or welfare needs of a community to provide a community bus service. It allows you to carry members of the general public for local bus services, which are defined as services using a public service vehicle for the carriage of passengers by road at separate fares on which the passengers may travel for less than 15 miles.
If you will be driving for hire and reward then you will need to apply for additional permits. Generally, this will be a public service vehicle (PSV) licence. There are four types of licence available depending on your operation and you can find out more about this on the government’s website.
What to Do Before Driving a Minibus
If you are thinking about driving a minibus then there are a few things to consider. There are four essentials that we recommend all drivers do before getting behind the wheel of a minibus.
- First check you are legally allowed to drive the minibus (including being insured to drive it)
- Make sure the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, taxed and has a valid MOT
- Then make sure you are comfortable driving the vehicle, considering all of the points we’ve mentioned above
- If a permit is needed to conduct the journey then you need to make sure this is in the vehicle
Training to Drive a Minibus
If you have not needed to take minibus specific training in order to be legally entitled to drive a minibus we would still recommend getting some if its available to you. A minibus is a unique vehicle and will usually be much bigger than your own car, additionally there will be a lot more passengers that could distract you from the road.
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