You have likely taken a ride on a minibus at least once in your lifetime. Minibuses are cost-effective and ideal for transporting big groups of friends or family members. From going on holiday with a large friend group to helping extended family move house, minibuses are perfect vehicles for an endless list of activities. But, do you know anything about what you need to do to drive a minibus? Or, what you can and can’t do on the road?
Who Can Drive A Minibus?
In theory, anyone with a valid car or HGV licence is permitted to drive a minibus. However, you should check the back of your driving licence before hiring a minibus just to make sure you are legally entitled to drive such a vehicle. Furthermore, you need to understand that while you might be legally allowed to drive a minibus, if you want to take payments there are additional actions you need to take and rules you need to be aware of.
Driving For Free
You don’t require a separate license if you plan to drive a minibus for personal use and not for hire, for monetary compensation or professionally. You can legally drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats without the need for additional licenses as long as you are doing it for free. There are, of course, some strict regulations. For instance, you need to have held a full car license for at least 24 months and be over the age of 21. You also must not suffer from any medical conditions that could impact passenger safety. Your GP can tell you more about the ‘group 2’ medical criteria that you must meet to drive a minibus with passengers. You must also ensure the total weight of your vehicle does not exceed 3.5 tonnes, and are prohibited from attaching a trailer to the back of it. Prospective minibus drivers over the age of 70 might have to undergo a medical exam and complete a D2 application to legally drive such a passenger vehicle.
Driving For Specific Groups
Driving for free can be a fun way to give back to the community, but it’s not always practical. Hiring a minibus can be costly, and on long distance journeys, you often end up having to spend a lot of your own money on extras, such as snacks and beverages, needed during your “free trip”. Even if you just drive for volunteer projects and family and friends, you still need to cover the cost of renting and maintaining a minibus. If you are happy driving for free, you still need to obtain a minibus permit from the DVSA. To be able to apply for such a permit, you need to be over the age of 21. There are clear conditions outlined for holders of the permit that stipulate which groups of people a minibus can transport. Such a permit does not allow you to transport the general public. It also only allows you to drive 9- to 15-passenger minibuses.
Making Money From Driving
To conclude, we move on to driving for profit. To become a professional minibus driver and be able to charge a fee to people who want to hire your services, you need to obtain a licence. To begin with, you’ll apply for a provisional licence that entitles you to drive a minibus. Such a licenced is officially called a Passenger Carrying Vehicle license. You also need to apply for a Public Service Vehicle license. With a PCV and PSV license, you can start driving for payment.