For some reason that no one has yet been able to explain, we tend to over complicate things in the UK. The question of the difference between the PSV and PCV licence is a classic example. Some people say the two licences are entirely different, others say they are one the same. The truth actually lies in the middle. And, unfortunately, the confusion rests in the fact that the government switched gears in 1992 and, in so doing, generated a lot of misinformation.

psv-licence

The PSV licence was the standard licence required of both drivers and operators of Category D vehicles such as buses, coaches, and minibuses. Regulatory changes in 1992 technically abolished the PSV for drivers and replaced it with the PCV licence we are all familiar with today. In that sense, there is absolutely no difference between the two licences when it comes to professional drivers. The same cannot be said for operators.

The government still prefers to designate operator licences as PSV licences. What is the difference between the operator and a driver? An operator is the company or non-profit organisation that legally owns the Category D vehicles in question and is responsible for their operation on public roads. The driver simply drives the vehicles. That said, operators and owners can be one and the same. Any such cases would require both the operator and driving licences.

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Basics of the PCV / PSV Driving Licence

To prevent further confusion in this article, we will refer to the PCV / PSV licence for Category D drivers as simply the PCV licence. This way you will know that ‘PCV’ always refers to drivers. With that in mind, let us discuss the basics of the PCV driving licence for professionals.

The PCV licence is a Category D licence that comes in four ‘flavours’:

As we said earlier, the PSV licence was officially abolished for drivers in 1992. So even if you are attempting to earn what is billed as a PSV licence to become a professional driver, the above licence categories apply to you. You would need to choose which category best fits the types of vehicle you intend to drive professionally.

Earning your PCV licence involves selecting the appropriate training and then taking and passing all required tests. New Driver CPC requirements have transformed the old two-part testing system into a new system involving four tests. Those four tests are the theory test, the case studies test, the driving skills test, and the practical demonstration test.

Some additional things you need to know are as follows:

The Specialised Training Services (HGV Training Centre) provides all the necessary classroom and behind-the-wheel training to prepare you to take and pass your tests. We utilise a fast-paced and intense training approach that increases your learning capacity while improving retention and recall. Our approach is proven to work by a first-time pass rate consistently above 90% across all of our training programmes.

Basics of the PSV Operator Licence

Because the government still prefers the PSV designation for operator licences, it is important that we address them here. We want to eliminate all confusion between driving and operator licences. Once again, the PSV designation is now reserved for operators in light of the driving licence being abolished more than two decades ago.

In order to legally use coaches, buses, or minibuses for commercial purposes in the UK, a PSV operator licence is required. The government defines commercial operation of PSV vehicles as:

An operator licence demonstrates that vehicle owners possess the necessary knowledge to conduct their businesses in a way that complies with all regulations. Like that Category D licences for drivers, there are four different kinds of licences for operators:

It should be clear from this description that the PSV operator licence is entirely different from the PCV driving licence. If you are planning to sign on with the Specialised Training Services (HGV Training Centre) to take one of our courses, you would be obviously interested in the driving licence. We do not train for the operator licence because there is nothing we can offer.

We hope this guide has cleared up any confusion you might have had about the PCV/PSV licence in the UK. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. One of our PCV specialists would be more than happy to answer your questions. If you are ready to begin training, contact us as soon as possible. We have new classes forming at all of our training facilities throughout the UK.

Our comprehensive training programme can have you fully trained and ready to obtain your licence in a matter of just a few weeks. There is no need for you to undergo long and cumbersome training that could take six months or longer to complete. We can get you in and out quickly without sacrificing quality.

Some Further Reading on PCV Careers

We understand that you may have a lot of questions about choosing to become a professional PCV driver. We are here to help you make the right decision so please don’t hesitate to call or email us at any time. The articles below may also help.

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