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Yesterday’s blog post featured the story of a Nottingham bus driver who had, after a year of unemployment, finally found his dream job driving for Nottingham City Transport. We want to follow that post today by addressing the often-confusing question of minibus licence requirements. Whenever we publish a post such as we did yesterday, we receive calls from people wanting to know if a licence is necessary to operate a minibus. We hope to answer those questions in this post.

To start with, a minibus is legally defined in the UK as a passenger vehicle carrying between nine and 16 passengers, not counting the driver. For practical purposes these vehicles are often built on van chassis; they may or may not have bodies similar to vans. Minibuses are used by non-profit organisations, charities, and small businesses in need of minimal transport services.

Pre-1997 Licences

Anyone who first earned a regular driving licence prior to 1997 should have no problem driving a minibus on that licence, as long as the driving is not for hire. If you are not sure, there are couple of marks you can look for on your licence document:

The combination of both marks means you can drive a minibus for reasons other than pay or profit. You could volunteer for a charity that uses a minibus to transport clients to shopping centres, for example. You could also drive a minibus for the church to which you belong. As long as you are not being paid and the owner of the minibus is not profiting from the transport, you are free to operate the vehicle.

Later Licences

Licence holders who earned their car licences in 1997 or later are subject to a different set of rules. The lack of the D1 category designation means these drivers cannot operate a minibus without first taking an additional driving test. However, those who possess a valid category B car licence can operate a minibus under the following conditions:

If you have any questions about whether or not you need an additional endorsement to drive a minibus, you can look up the information on the GOV.UK website or contact the HGV Training Centre. Any need for an additional test is good reason to undergo training in one of our conveniently located facilities. We provide the training you need to pass your tests the first time.

Sources:

  1. Drive Safe – http://www.drivesafe.org.uk/Minibus-Driver-Training/Pages/Minibus-Driving-Licence-Information-.aspx

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