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Operating minibuses as a non-profit or charity is a good way to provide much-needed transport services to those being served. But finding drivers is not always the easiest thing to do. Ever since the regulations controlling driving licences were changed, it has become harder and harder to find volunteer drivers for minibuses. One solution is to use lighter vehicles.

As the regulations now stand, anyone who received a car licence after 1 January 1997 must have a Category D1 licence, sometimes referred to as a ‘minibus licence’, to operate minibuses heavier than 3.5 tonnes. And as Business Car Manager points out, most 16-seat minibuses fit that description. That means driving on a volunteer basis requires the additional entitlement most of the time. This makes it hard for charities and non-profits to recruit drivers unless they are willing to pay for training and testing.

Warrington-based Academy Leasing believes it has a solution: a selection of 17-seat minibuses that come in under the 3.5-tonne weight limit. The minibuses are based on the Peugeot Boxer, which uses lightweight materials that reduce overall vehicle weight without compromising safety or strength. These are light enough that volunteer drivers could operate them without having to get the additional minibus licence entitlement. Of course, professional drivers would still have to be trained, licenced, and Driver CPC certified.

Know What Licence You Need

Academy Leasing is certainly going to make a difference for non-profits and charities with its new minibus fleet. However, using lighter vehicles changes nothing for companies employing professional drivers. Therefore, it is crucial that those companies know what kinds of licences their drivers need to operate legally.

If you hope to be a professional driver in the future, you should definitely familiarise yourself with the different driving licence categories in the UK. Most of the students who take courses with us are after either the Category C or Category D licences. The former is for HGVs while the latter is for PCVs.

We provide training for all professional level licences regardless of what our students want to drive. Whether the goal is to operate an articulated lorry, coach or city bus, we provide high-quality training that enables our students to get their licences in just a few weeks. We even offer training for forklift truck drivers who need to be certified.

Know the Minibus Requirements

In closing this blog post, we want to encourage minibus operators to know what is required of them and their drivers. Different rules apply according to the weight of vehicles, how many passengers they carry, and the purposes for which they are being operated. If you have any questions about your minibus fleets, you can check with the government for clarification.

In the event your drivers need training, the HGV Training Centre offers affordable training for the minibus licence entitlement. With a relatively small investment of money and time, your drivers can be trained and legally licenced.

Sources:

  1. Business Car Manager – http://www.businesscarmanager.co.uk/academy-leasings-light-minibus-solution-is-a-lesson-in-saving-thousands-on-payload-premium/

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