Minibuses are the silent heroes of many a family holiday, community trips and house move. They are the perfect meeting of van and HGV and open up a huge realm of possibilities for those who drive them. They are available for easy hire at almost any vehicle hire facility and are one of the easier bigger vehicles to drive. But if you want to drive a minibus, there are some rules you need to know about.
Who Can Drive One
By the letter of the law, anyone who has a full UK driver’s license, and has had it for longer than 2 years can drive a minibus. It’s a pretty simple rule really. If you’re not sure you can drive one, just check on the back of your license – there’s a grid there that tells you exactly what you can and can’t drive. But being able to hire and drive one is one thing – there are some other rules you need to follow, and they depend on the reason you’re driving the vehicle.
If You’re Driving For Free
If you’re hiring and driving a minibus completely for free (aka, you’re not taking any money for it at all), then you can hire one under your normal license, with no changes or special permits or licenses at all. But you do have to be over 21! You will also need to visit your GP and have them perform a group 2 medical check-up so that you can prove your fit and healthy enough to drive such a big vehicle safely. It’s also your responsibility to make sure that the total weight of the minibus never exceeds 3.5 tonnes, and that you aren’t towing a trailer at any point. If you’re over 72 years old, there is another hoop you will need to jump through. You will need to take a more comprehensive medical exam, and you will need to fill in a D2 and a D4 application form.
If You’re Covering Costs
Of course, hiring and running a minibus isn’t cheap. Even if you’re doing it for a family member or a charity group, it’s understandable that the driver wouldn’t want to front the cost of it from their own pocket. This is why many people who hire minibuses often collect a small amount of money from those they are transporting to cover their costs. If you want to do this (and we completely understand if you do!), then you will need to apply for a permit. You can apply for this through the DVSA, as long as you are over 21. The conditions of the permit are quite strict – you can only transport the pre-specified group of people, you cannot have the bus open to the public, and you must be carrying between 9 and 15 passengers. Most of these are easy enough to follow, and you should be able to breeze through the process.
If You’re Driving For Profit
Finally, there are plenty of people who want to hire and drive a minibus for hire. To do this, you will need a professional license, to prove that you meet the required standards for safety and professionalism. The first thing you will need to do is get a provisional entitlement to drive a minibus, also known as a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) licence. Once you have that, you will also need a PSV (Public Service Vehicle) license, in order to service the public. In order to obtain both of these licenses, you will need to go through some professional training, undertake several hours of driving practice and pass a series of tests at the end. This is to ensure you are competent and safe to drive a minibus for professional purposes.
At Surrey and Hampshire HGV Training, we specialise in providing aspiring drivers in that last category achieve their dreams. Our trainers are experienced in training all categories of license to all abilities, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a veteran driver or you’re relatively new on the scene. For more information, or to book your first training session, please get in touch with us today.
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