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There remains a lot of confusion about the PSV licence, despite the fact that it was technically abolished in 1992. The public service vehicle licence was the forerunner to today’s passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) licence; both licences are essentially identical. Any professional driver who earned a PSV prior to 1992 may still be working under that licence, even though it is considered a PCV licence today.

Now that we have added to the confusion, we want to take this opportunity to lay out some of the basics of the PSV/PCV licence for the benefit of those who might want to earn one before embarking on a career as a professional driver. Here are the basics you need to know:

When a Licence Is Required

You will need a PSV/PCV licence in order to drive a vehicle for hire capable of carrying nine passengers or more. This includes minibuses. Furthermore, ‘for hire’ does not just apply to you as the driver. Even if you were to drive on a voluntary basis, it would be considered for hire if the vehicle owner were earning money for providing the transportation.

You will also need a licence if you intend to operate smaller vehicles with lower passenger capacity if you are charging separately for each passenger journey. This is why cab drivers have to have PSV licences in order to operate.

Four Operator Classes

Commercial passenger vehicles are divided into four different classes for the purposes of licencing operators. Note that these four classes do not necessarily apply to drivers who are not also the legal operators of the businesses that own the vehicles. The four operator classes are:

Because these licences are operator licences, they do not affect the training of drivers. Any driver wishing to operate a commercial passenger vehicle would have to undergo PCV training through a company such as the HGV Training Centre. The training includes both general driver training and CPC training as mandated by law.

The HGV Training Centre provides training for all types of commercial passenger vehicles including coaches, buses, minibuses, and large passenger vans. If you require a PSV/PCV licence in order to work, we can provide the training you need to earn that licence.

We utilise an intense and fast-paced training approach that can have you ready to take your practical skills test at an approved facility in just a few weeks. Moreover, to increase your chances of passing, we will even send one of our trainers with you on the day of your exam. Contact us if you would like to learn more.


  1. UK – https://www.gov.uk/psv-operator-licences


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