Who can drive a minibus

Who can drive our minibus?

For not-for-profit organisations operating minibuses under a Section 19 Permits, Section 22 Community Bus Permits or Section 10B Northern Ireland:

Drivers who passed their car driving test before 1st January 1997 will normally have a D1(101) - minibus, not for hire or reward - entitlement on their licence.  This will remain on the licence until it expires at age 70 or unless removed by DVLA (DVA Northern Ireland), usually for medical reasons. Even though the licence restriction says ‘not for hire or reward’ these licence holders can drive a minibus operated under a Section 19 / 22 / 10B permit without additional conditions. 

Drivers who passed their driving test on or after 1st January 1997 are not automatically granted the D1 entitlement on their licence.  They can, however, drive a minibus if they can comply with all of the following conditions:

  • The driver must have held a full B (car) licence for at least two years.
  • The driver is aged 21 or over. 
  • The driver is aged under 70 (unless the driver has passed a PCV Medical and shown by the code of either 120 or (NFHR).
  • The driver receives no payment or other consideration for driving the vehicle other than out-of-pocket expenses.
  • The vehicle weighs no more than 3500kg (maximum authorised mass) or 4250kg if the vehicle has additional equipment such as a passenger lift to allow the carriage of disabled passengers.
  • There is no trailer of any weight attached.

The two conditions that cause most problems for organisations are the vehicle weight restriction and not being able to pay drivers.  The restriction on out-of-pocket expenses is normally interpreted as meaning that the driver is a volunteer.  However, there is a legal opinion that where a driver does not have driving as part of their job description / contract and they receive no more pay as a result of their driving duties, they could be considered to be meeting the condition set out above.  This opinion has not been tested in a court but has been accepted by most of the voluntary sector.

Where any  of the above conditions cannot be met, the driver will need to pass a second driving test in a minibus including, medical and theory, hazard perception and practical tests.  This will gain them a full PCV, D1 entitlement. 

For organisation who operate under a PSV Operators Licence

All drivers must have a full, unrestricted D1 entitlement which can only be obtained through taking a second test in a minibus.  This will also include Driver CPC training, for more information see www.ctauk.org/training

Additional information for all operators

It is important in all cases that a driver’s licence is checked by a knowledgeable person every six months to ensure they still comply with the legal, insurance and organisational requirements.

Further reading

  • CTA’s leaflet entitled ‘Driver Licensing - Permit Vehicles’, provides comprehensive information.  Also, in 2006 the Departments for Transport and for Education and Skills produced guidelines on incidental driving of minibuses. Both documents are available on CTA’s web site at www.ctauk.org.
  • DVLA’s leaflet ‘Driving a Minibus (INF28)’ can be downloaded from www.direct.gov.uk.
  • The Driver and Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland also has information on their web site at www.dvlni.gov.uk.
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