Can I Drive a Minibus?

If you are not being paid to drive or are driving for a charity or not-for-profit organisation, have a standard car licence, are over 21 and have been driving for over two years you can drive a minibus under a certain weight.

If you have a full D1 licence, or a D1 101 entitlement on your licence (check the back of licences issued before 1st Jan 1997) you can drive a minibus with less restrictions.

Charities or not-for-profit organisations can operate their minibuses under a Section 19 Permit which allows drivers to drive on a standard car licence if the following conditions are being met.

  • They have held a full category B car licence for at least 2 years
  • They receive no payment or other consideration for driving other than out-of-pocket expenses
  • The vehicle has a maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes including specialised equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers)
  • For drivers aged 70 or over, that they don’t have any medical conditions which would disqualify them from eligibility for a D1 licence
  • No trailer is being towed
  • Where the driver’s licence only authorises the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission, that only a vehicle with automatic transmission is used
  • Drivers aged 70 or over who don’t meet the higher medical standards are not authorised to drive small buses. They can drive small vehicles being used under a permit, provided they have renewed their car licence.

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If drivers want to drive a minibus with a weight over 3.5 tonnes (or 4.25 tonnes with the allowance for specialist equipment) they must have D1 entitlement. If your driving licence was issued before January 1997 and has 101 in the D1 column on the back of your licence then you can drive minibuses without the weight restriction. Otherwise, you will need to take the D1 driving test to get that entitlement.

An organisation that accepts any sort of payment for providing transport to passengers must hold either a PSV ‘O’ licence or a private hire vehicle (PHV) licence. Section 19 Permits are issued by the DVSA to organisations that operate vehicles without a view to profit to transport their members, or people whom the organisation exists to help, such as school pupils. Section 19 permit vehicles cannot be used to carry members of the general public. A Section 19 Permit replaces the need for a PSV or PHV licence.

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