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Within the broad category of commercial driving, there are different types of driving jobs. There are LGV (light goods vehicles), HGV (heavy goods vehicles), and PCV (passenger carrying vehicles) jobs, each with their own characteristics and qualifications. For the purposes of this post, we will concentrate on that of the PCV driver.

The biggest difference between PCV and HGV jobs is the cargo. As a PCV driver, you need to be cognisant that what you are transporting is not just consumer goods destined for a distribution or retail centre. You are transporting people, a group of passengers that may include fathers, mothers, children, grandparents, etc.

Different License Categories

A driver who intends to operate a passenger-carrying vehicle other than a standard car must have a PCV license unless the following conditions are met:

When you earn your PCV license the types of vehicles you will be able to drive will depend on the categories included on your licence. For example, the minimum license would allow you to drive a minibus for hire within the UK. Minibuses are those carrying no more than 16 passengers.

The next step up would be a bus licence, which would enable you to drive vehicles with a capacity of over 16 passengers for purposes of local and regional transportation. This would include municipal buses and private hire buses for short distance trips.

Lastly, the coach category will allow you to drive the largest passenger buses usually reserved for long-distance trips, group holidays, and destination travel. If you have the coach endorsement, you can also operate minibuses and buses. If you want to go in the other direction, you can employ a strategy known as “staging.”

Staging works by earning your full car license then using it to get a provisional entitlement allowing you to train for the next category. As you train and pass the required tests for each category, you apply for a provisional entitlement for the next one. By staging, you can work your way through the various entitlements until you reach the highest category licence you are after.

For example, let’s just assume you want to earn your PCV license so you can drive a commercial minibus. As long as you have your full car license, you can apply for provisional entitlement, which allows you to take your PCV theory test. If you pass the theory test, you can immediately begin practical training with an appropriate PCV driver-training centre. When completed you take your road test and, if you pass, receive your licence. At that point, you could stop or apply for the next provisional entitlement allowing you to train for buses.

If you think you might want to earn a PCV licence, we would be happy to help. The HGV Training Centre can provide you with all the knowledge and instruction you need.

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