If you wanted to know what was in-between a van and an HGV, we would tell you ‘a minibus’. They are great vehicles – versatile and really easy to use. They’re perfect for transporting people and things when a full lorry might just be too much. From helping a loved one to move house to taking the family on holiday, or even running around for a charity event. The possibilities are endless. But do you know everything you need to about driving a minibus, and if you can at all?
Well, let us ask you this. Do you have a full UK driver’s license? Have you held that driver’s license for more than 2 years? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then yes, you can probably drive a minibus. Anyone who holds a full valid UK license (so no Provisionals, sorry!) can hire and drive a minibus. If you’re not sure, you can check by looking at the back of your driver’s license – the details of what vehicles you can and can’t drive can all be found there. But it’s not as simple as it seems. Depending on the purpose of the hire, there are certain rules you need to follow.
If you’re driving a minibus for free – aka, not for personal gain or for cost – then you don’t need any separate licenses or permits to drive one. Your rights under this rule mean you are legally allowed to drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers under your basic license. However, you do need to be over 21 to do this. You will also need to meet (and prove you meet) the group 2 medical criteria as defined by your GP, which proves you are fit and healthy enough to drive such a large vehicle. You will also need to make sure that the weight of the minibus doesn’t exceed 3.5 tonnes in total, and you aren’t allowed to tow a trailer at the same time as driving the minibus. If you are an older driver (i.e. over 70 years old), you might need to take a further medical exam and fill in a D2 application.
Not everyone wants to bear the cost of hiring and driving a minibus from their own pocket. After all, it’s not cheap to hire one, and depending on how long your journey is, the fuel isn’t cheap either. Even if you’re only driving your friends and family, it is understandable that you would want to cover your costs. If you want to drive a minibus and collect money to cover your costs, then you will need a permit. You can apply for this through the DVSA, provided you are 21 years. The permit does detail some specific rules – including that the minibus must be only used for the specified group of people, and must not be available for use by the general public. It must also be carrying between 9 and 15 passengers, not any more or any less.
Finally, there are plenty of people who want to hire and drive a minibus for hire. To do this, you will need a professional license, to prove that you meet the required standards for safety and professionalism. The first thing you will need to do is get a provisional entitlement to drive a minibus, also known as a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) licence. Once you have that, you will also need a PSV (Public Service Vehicle) license, in order to service the public. In order to obtain both of these licenses, you will need to go through some professional training, undertake several hours of driving practice and pass a series of tests at the end. This is to ensure you are competent and safe to drive a minibus for professional purposes.
At the LGV Training Centre, we specialise in helping people gain the experience and qualifications they need to drive minibuses for profit. Our team of trainers have years of experience working with drivers from all ages and backgrounds, helping them achieve the high professional standard expected of drivers. For more information, or to start your journey to becoming a minibus driver, just get in touch with us today