Most people, at some point in their life, have been in a minibus. A minibus is commonly used to transport large groups of people in an efficient and cost-effective manner. The possibilities are endless when you have a minibus as you can help a loved one move home or go on holiday. The question is, how much do you actually know about driving a minibus and what are you allowed to do when driving one? Here, the HGV training experts in Hampshire explain the rules you need to be aware of.
Who Can Drive a Minibus?
Anyone can drive a minibus as long as they have a full and valid license. A full car license will include a minibus as standard, but if you are not sure, you can check the back of your license to verify. This is something that you should do before you decide to rent a minibus as well.
Of course, it is not just being physically able to drive a minibus that you need to consider. There are certain rules that come with a minibus when there is payment involved and you need to know them. Fortunately, they are generally simple.
Driving Without Any Charge
You do not have to have a separate license when you drive a minibus for personal reasons instead of professionally. When you do not have a separate license, you will be allowed to carry up to 16 people in the minibus. Of course, there are some restrictions that you need to be aware of.
The first is that you have to be over 21 and need to have held your driver’s license for 2 years. You also need to meet all of the group 2 medical requirements as defined by your doctor. You also have to make sure that the weight of the minibus does not exceed 3.5 tonnes in total and you cannot have a trailer attached to the minibus. If you are over the age of 70, you will need a further medical examination and a completed D2 application.
Driving and Covering the Costs
Of course, there are times when it is not possible to drive a minibus for free. It can be expensive to hire them and if you are going on a long journey, you will be spending a lot of your own money. This is why you might want to look at other ways to cover the costs of the minibus when you use it for personal reasons or to help a charity.
When you are going to be covering your costs only, you will need to get a minibus permit. You will be able to apply for this through the transport authority and you need to be over 21 to do so. There will be conditions with the permit which state that the minibus must be used to transport a specific group of people and not the general public. You will also be able to carry between 9 and 15 people only.
Driving for a Profit
If you are going to be driving the minibus in a professional capacity, you need to get a new license to do this. This new license will be over and above the standard license that you already have. The first step to do this will be to get a provisional entitlement to drive this type of vehicle known as a PCV license. You are also going to need a PSV or public service vehicle license.
It is actually fairly simple to get these licenses, but you will have to go through some training, driving hours and a test. Once you have these licenses, you will be marked as a professional that is able to drive a minibus safely and to a set standard. You will also be legally able to charge for your time. This means that you can drive your minibus for profit on a freelance basis or as an employee of a larger company.