Driving minibuses with a car driving licence

There are special licensing arrangements allowing you to drive minibuses and buses without holding the higher Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) driving licence entitlement. Drivers of minibuses having nine to 16 passenger seats will need to hold a PCV licence category D1 or a category D licence to drive larger buses.

Exempted passenger carrying vehicles

Holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive any of the vehicles listed below, although this might change in 2018 as per an announcement by the Department for Infrastructure on 30 June 2017.

Vehicles you can drive if you have a full category B (car) driving licence:

  • a passenger carrying vehicle manufactured more than 30 years before the date it is driven and not used for hire or reward or for the carriage of more than eight passengers
  • a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats

When driving a minibus the following conditions must be met:

  • the vehicle is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body 
  • the driver is aged at least 21 and has held a full car  licence for at least two years
  • the minibus maximum weight is not more than 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes if fitted with specialist equipment for the carriage of passengers)

When driving a minibus under these conditions you may not receive any payment or consideration for driving other than out-of-pocket expenses. You can't tow trailers; you may only drive minibuses in the United Kingdom.

Drivers aged 70 or over will need to make a special application which involves meeting higher medical standards.

Holders of a full category D (PCV) driving licence can also drive a passenger carrying recovery vehicle. This is defined as a vehicle (not being an articulated goods vehicle combination) which:

  • has an unladen weight not exceeding 10.2 tonnes
  • is being operated by the holder of a public service vehicle (PSV) operator's licence
  • is being used for the purpose of proceeding to, or returning from, a place where assistance is to be, or has been, given to a damaged or disabled passenger-carrying vehicle; or is giving assistance to or moving a disabled passenger-carrying vehicle or moving a damaged vehicle

Vehicle classification for driver licensing purposes

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) can't give legal advice on how vehicles are classified but, generally speaking it depends on the weight of the vehicle or the number of passengers it can carry. Any queries should be directed to the DVA:

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