Who can drive a minibus?

Classed as a passenger vehicle that can carry between 8-16 passengers, a minibus is a convenient and highly adaptable form of transportation. However, there can be lots of confusion around the legalities of driving a minibus, particularly when it comes to who can drive one and what kind of permit or license you need.

In this guide, we’re outlining everything you need to know about being a minibus driver in the UK.

It’s important to note that this blog is a guideline only; laws can change regularly, so be sure to contact your local transport authority or the DVLA if you’re unsure of anything.

Can I drive a minibus under a normal car license?

In the UK, drivers who obtained their licence before January 1st 1997 will have a D1 entitlement already. That means they’re allowed to drive a minibus under their normal licence. Those who passed their driving test after this date can still drive a minibus with a standard B driving licence, but they’ll have to also meet the following criteria:

  • Being 21 years or older
  • If you’re over 70 years old, meeting Group 2 medical standards (check with your GP if you’re not sure)
  • Having your driving license for at least 24 months
  • Driving for ‘non-commercial’ purposes (in other words, you’re a volunteer driver)
  • Not towing a trailer
  • Driving a minibus that doesn’t weigh more than 3.5T, or 4.25T if specialist equipment for disabled passengers is required

Note that a regular license only allows you to drive minibuses with up to 16 passenger seats.

So what do I need a minibus licence for?

If you don’t meet any of the above conditions, you’ll need to apply for a license.

You’ll also need to apply for a licence if you are going to drive a minibus ‘for profit’, that is, charging passengers to ride and making a profit from this. In either of these cases, you’ll have to apply for:

  1. A minibus provisional entitlement, also known as a passenger-carrying vehicle (PCV) licence

  2. A public service vehicle (PSV) operators licence

Driving Licence

And what about a minibus permit? When do I need one of those?

If you are charging your passengers money, but only to cover running costs and not to make a profit, then you’ll need to apply for a minibus permit instead. You’ll have to be 21 years or older to apply for this, and your minibus can only carry up to 17 passengers. You’ll have to apply for your permit through the DVSA.

What age do I have to be to drive a minibus?

As mentioned before, if you want to drive a minibus on your car license, then you have to be at least 21 years old. Otherwise, you’ll have to apply for a special licence. There are also further criteria and forms you’ll need to fill out if you’re over the age of 70.

What if I’m over 70?

If you’re over 70 years old, then you can still drive a minibus. Just make sure that if you’re renewing your licence you order a D2 application form. You’ll also need to order a D4 medical examination report and get your doctor to complete it. You can order any of these forms on the DVLA forms page.

What about insurance?

As per the Road Traffic Act 1988, all vehicles being driven in the UK have to be insured against third-party risks. As minibuses are larger vehicles and carry more passengers, coverage can be costlier. If your minibus is being driven by several different drivers, you can insure it for this. Generally. There are different levels of insurance coverage offered, including:

  • Third-Party Only - A basic level of coverage that only protects you from other vehicles on the road. That means you’re not covered for any other damage to the vehicle.

  • Third-Party Fire and Theft - This offers basic insurance with the addition of coverage for fire damage and theft.

  • Fully Comprehensive Insurance - The highest level of coverage which protects you from everything above as well as accidental damage.

What am I allowed to use my minibus for?

From special education programmes to religious services as well as community and sports events, Minibuses can be used for all kinds of different purposes. What you’re allowed to drive for and under what licences and permits depends on whether you are driving commercially or not for profit.

Stock Minibus Event

As mentioned earlier:

  • If you’re charging for passengers and taking a cut, then you’ll need a special minibus licence.

  • If you’re charging but not taking a cut, then you’ll just need a permit.

  • And if you’re driving as a volunteer, then it's OK to do so on your car license, provided you meet all the other conditions we listed at the start.

At Rivervale, we’ve got a broad selection of brand new minibuses for leasing that meet all the latest safety standards, suitable for everything from education and sports to community events.

From short term minibus leasing to minibus driver training, we’re your experts at the wheel when it comes to anything related to small to medium-sized passenger transportation.

Ask an expert

Need expert advise regarding leasing? Submit your question now

Send a Question

eNews Signup

Our best vehicle leasing deals delivered direct to your inbox

Signup now

Callback Request

Request a callback from an experienced vehicle leasing advisor

Request callback

More from our blog…

Trustpilot LogoExcellent - 4.9 out of 52956 Verified Reviews

Claire Morgan TrustPilot 5 Star

I have recently taken possession of a car that I have leased through Rivervale and from start to finish, the service I received was excellent...

Added 3 days ago

George Efthymiou TrustPilot 5 Star

Great customer care. Would recommend this company to anyone wishing to lease

Added 5 days ago

Brad, Indigo Catering ... TrustPilot 5 Star

My experience with Rivervale was great, we hope to keep the relationship going with additional cars in the future. My salesman Jim was exceptional,...

Added 5 days ago

CustomStephen A Er TrustPilot 5 Star

My second vehicle with Rivervale and can’t fault there excellent service and help from order to delivery Many thanks to Jake and Ellie

Added 7 days ago

Andrew Bruce TrustPilot 5 Star

Top service, very efficient and will always beat any leasing quote. Jake is very attentive, helpful and always available to help you along every...

Added 7 days ago

Jay Patel TrustPilot 5 Star

Great service, informative, and most importantly they were honest and went out their way to keep me updated during the process!

Added 7 days ago

Paul Anderson TrustPilot 5 Star

I have now used Rivervale for the lease of multiple vehicles and cannot fault the service provided by Jordan and his team. We came to use Rivervale...

Added 11 days ago

Tom B TrustPilot 5 Star

Really helpful staff who kept me updated regarding the availability of my lease vehicle.

Added 18 days ago

Stephen Day TrustPilot 5 Star

Very helpful from start to finish

Added 18 days ago

Stephen TrustPilot 5 Star

Excellent service again from the leasing team at Rivervale. This is the second lease car I have obtained from them and again was hassle free...

Added 18 days ago

Arval Lex Autolease Alphabet BVRLA Seagulls Leaseplan Leasys Novuna Vehicle Solutions Santander ODO Fleet Insight ALD

We use cookies to make the website work as well as possible and improve our services.

Accept Cookies Managing cookies