Being able to drive a minibus legally can open a lot of doors for you both personally and professionally. From taking all your friends and family on holiday to helping loved ones move house, and applying for passenger transporting jobs, a minibus licence can have a wealth of uses.

 

But how much do you really know about the restrictions involved? It’s best to brush up on the basics to avoid getting into trouble by accident.

 

Who can drive a minibus?

 

In theory, anyone can drive a minibus if you have a full car driving licence which includes this as standard. You should be able to find this information on your licence, so take a look before hiring out a minibus just in case.

 

Driving for free

 

There are different driving licence criteria for driving a minibus professionally as opposed to driving it for personal reasons. If you are driving the minibus for free, so ‘not for hire or reward’, you don’t necessarily need a separate licence to carry up to 16 passengers.

 

There are some restrictions even here, however. You must be over the age of 21, with a licence you’ve held for at least two years. You should meet the ‘group 2’ medical criteria as defined by your GP, and the weight of the bus should be a maximum of 3.5 tonnes. You’re also not allowed to tow a trailer at the same time as driving the minibus.

 

Older drivers, so those aged over 70, may need to take a further medical exam and fill in a separate D2 application form if they intend to drive a minibus even if it’s not for hire or reward.

 

Driving for cost

 

It’s not always practical to drive a minibus completely for free, even if you’re only driving friends or family, or even a charity or other voluntary project. You can charge expenses as long as they’re for the running of the vehicle and not for your time.

 

To do this you will need a minibus permit. This is something you can get by applying to the DVSA, and again you must be at least 21 years old to do it.

 

The conditions are that the minibus must be used for a specific group of people, not available to the general public, and it must be a size to carry between 9 and 16 passengers – no more and no less.

 

Driving for payment

 

Finally, if you want to drive a minibus professionally, there are some specific licence additions you need to get.

 

The first is a provisional entitlement to drive a minibus, which is also called Passenger Carrying Vehicle (or PCV) licence. You will also need a PSV licence, which stands for Public Service Vehicle.

 

Both of these licence additions mark you out as being capable of driving a minibus to a professional standard, and mean that you can charge for your time. This enables you to drive either freelance for profit, or to apply for driving jobs with companies who need passenger carrying vehicle drivers.

 

A company like Specialised HGV Training can help you to get these licence additions fast and for a manageable cost. Talk to one of our friendly team today to find out how.

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