Frequently Asked Questions

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    On this page you can find a list of some of our most frequently asked questions. The information is provided for organisations that hire, own, or operate minibuses (9 to 16 passenger seats plus driver) or MPVs (less than 9 passenger seats) as part of their activities.

    The information in the FAQs is available to everyone, but some answers may link to more in-depth information that is only accessible to members of the CTA. 

    If you need more information, or if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, you can call CTA’s Advice Service on 0345 130 6195.


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  • Training

    • How long do MiDAS certificates last?

      The following certificates last for 4 years:

      • MiDAS Driver certificate
      • PATS certificate
      • MiDAS Car and MPV certificate
      • Passenger Assistant Trainer certificate

      The following certificates last for 2 years:

      • DAT certificate
      • Car and MPV Observer certificate

      5 STEPS to Safety certificates do not expire and 5 STEPS Trainer certificates remain valid in conjunction with a valid DAT or PAT certificate.

      To renew your certificate you must attend Refresher Training before your certificate expires. In some extenuating circumstances you can apply for an extension to your certificate if you will be unable to attend Refresher Training before your certificate expires. If your certificate expires and you have not been granted extension or if are unable to complete Refresher Training before your current certificate expires, you may have to attend a full induction course to renew your certificate.

    • Is MiDAS a legal entitlement?

      Completing a MiDAS assessment does not give a driver an additional legal entitlement on their driving license. MiDAS is a good practice scheme which allows drivers who already have the legal requirement on their driving license an opportunity to be assessed to drive a minibus to a national standard.

    • Does my organisation need to register?

      Every organisation that interacts with any of the MiDAS training schemes, needs to become MiDAS registered. MiDAS registration is free and you only need to fill out a short form online to be issued with a MiDAS registration number. As part of the MiDAS registration process the organisation agrees to sign up to the MiDAS commitment which helps us to maintain MiDAS as a respected nationally recognised programme. The registration number is unique to your organisation and should be quoted whenever you contact the CTA, on resource order forms and certificates. CTA use the unique registration number to ensure that training records are allocated to the correct organisation. If you are a trainer delivering training you must ensure that every organisation you deliver training to has their own registration number.

      Trainers are also given a unique I.D number when they are registered with us. This will be different to the organisation’s MiDAS number and is important for ordering resources and completing certificate returns.

      If you have misplaced your MiDAS membership number or your Trainer I.D. number, you can contact the CTA’s central support office on 0161 351 1475 or

      MiDAS membership is different to CTA membership. If you are an organisation delivering local transport services that fulfil a social purpose and community benefit, you can find out more about CTA membership here.

    • How much does training cost?

      MiDAS providers can charge their own prices which is why we would always recommend that you contact more than one provider so that you get the best price for your organisation. Prices can vary depending on the number of people requiring training, the modules you require and your location.

    • What training will I receive when I attend a course?

      You can find out more about the topics and timings of each course, by visiting the information pages, here. All modules of each course include a theory session and theory assessment. This is usually delivered in a classroom, however may be delivered virtually. For driver courses, each driver will receive an individual driving assessment which includes a minimum of 30 minutes of assessed driving (or observation for Car & MPV). For Accessible modules (including PATS B1&B2) there should also be a practical session where you will be shown demonstrations and undertake supervised practices before having your practical skills assessed. If you are concerned about the any training you have received, you can let us know, here.

      Please note, we’re currently updating the way that MiDAS courses are delivered. You can find out more, here.

    • How do I find my organisations MiDAS registration number?

      Your MiDAS registration number is a unique number which is allocated to you when your organisation registered. If you have misplaced your number you can contact the CTA’s central support office on 0161 351 1475 or

    • What does a practical skills assessment involve?

      If undertaking an Practical Skills Assessment (as part of Accessible MiDAS, Car & MPV and PATS), you will be assessed on your ability to demonstrate good practice when:

      • Assisting someone with walking difficulties
      • Assisting someone who has sight loss
      • Assisting a wheelchair user
      • Leading a someone away from danger by their arm (PATS / Car & MPV C1 and C2 only)

      Additionally, you will be assessed on your ability to demonstrate good practice when:

      • Assisting a wheelchair user to board and alight a minibus using a passenger lift or ramp
      • Using wheelchair tie-down equipment
      • Fitting and removing a passenger safety belt

      Before the assessment you will be shown demonstrations and be given the opportunity to practice under the supervision of the trainer.

      If you are completing a trainer course, you will also be assessed on your ability to accurately assess others completing these skills and our ability to provide clear explanations and demonstrations.

    • What does a driving assessment involve?
      1. Introduction and eyesight check

      Before entering the vehicle, drivers must read (with glasses or contact lenses, if necessary) a car number plate made after 1 September 2001 from 20 metres. If they fail, the driver should be advised not to drive any vehicle until they have seen an optician or a doctor. The assessment will not continue.

      1. Walk-round check and vehicle familiarisation

      The first step will be ensuring that all drivers are aware of what they should check when completing a walk-round check and know where to find everything they need to drive in a safe and legal manner.

      1. Demonstration and commentary drive by trainer

      In most cases it is recommended that the trainer carries out a demonstration drive and commentary to show the standard which is expected.

      1. Driving familiarisation

      Before beginning the assessment drivers should be given time to familiarise themselves with driving the vehicle. The amount of time allocated for this will depend on the driver’s experience and whether they are driven the vehicle previously. The trainer can make the driver aware of any faults in this section. If after 20 minutes a trainer feels that the driver will not reach the required standard, they may choose to defer the assessment and provide additional training instead.

      1. Assessment (Minimum of 30 minutes)

      The driver should be informed when the trainer begins the assessment. The trainer may continue to offer some prompts, if required. The assessment should include two reversing manoeuvres. A minimum of one reversing manoeuvre is required to pass the assessment. The driver must be assessed for a minimum of 30 minutes.

      1. De-brief and verdict

      Following the assessment, drivers should be informed of the outcome of the assessment and offered feedback.

      The duration of the assessment will depend on the length of time allocated to demonstrations and familiarisation, however, it must include a minimum of 30 minutes assessed driving per driver.

      A driving observation for the MiDAS Car & MPV course, largely follows the same format. The key difference is that the driver is being observed, rather than assessed. The Observer will not provide any demonstrations, training or prompts, other than giving directions.

      If completing a driving assessment as part of a trainer course, you will be required to demonstrate a higher driving standard. DATs will also be assessed on their ability to provide an effective driving commentary.

    • How do I order training resources?

      Training resources can be ordered by trainers. You can place your order and pay online, this will be received by CTA and the resources will be with you within 28 working days. You can reach the online store here.

    Operator Licensing

    • What is an operator’s licence and do we need one?

      An operator’s licence allows a person or an organisation to operate passenger carrying vehicles in return for any kind of ‘hire or reward’.  You are likely to require an operator’s licence of some type because “hire or reward” will exist in the majority, if not all, transport operations. 

      Public Service Vehicle (PSV) Operator Licence (O license) 

      Private or commercial companies that operate transport will need to apply for a PSV operator’s licence, also known as an O license.  Where only one or two minibuses are run a restricted operator’s licence may be sufficient.  These are issued by the Traffic Commissioner through their Central Office in Leeds and the contact number is 0300 123 9000. 

      If your organisation is a not-for-profit organisation you may be eligible to operate passenger transport using section 19, section 22 or section 10B permits and to charge for transport, but at a not-for-profit rate. 

      For more information on whether you need an operators’ license or if you can claim an exemption, CTA members can access our suite of resources here.

    • What is ‘hire and reward’?

      ‘Hire and reward’ is the legal term for payment for providing transport. It’s any payment, in cash or kind, which gives a person the right to be carried on a vehicle, regardless of whether that right is exercised. The payment may be made by the passenger or on the passenger’s behalf.   

      Fares, subscriptions, donations, grants, payments for another services and money drawn from club funds would all be treated as ‘hire and reward’. This applies even when no profit is made or when transport is only part of a package.   

      Operators need to be very careful before assuming that their operation is not for ‘hire or reward’. 

      CTA members can find more information on whether their service is run for hire or reward in a suite of resources here. 

    • What is a section 19 Permit, and do we need one?

      There are two forms of section 19 permits, Standard and Large Bus. 

      Section 19 permits are issued for use in Great Britain, and allow not for profit organisations to operate transport services for ‘hire or reward’ under one of the recognised exemptionsThese permits cannot be used to provide transport to members of the general public and organisations must ensure that they are only carrying passengers that their organisation is set up to benefit.  If your organisation is operating transport then ‘hire or reward’ probably exists and you will need to obtain a section 19 permit.  CTA members can find detailed resources about what permit they may need, and what exemption they could operator under in our members’ area. 

      Section 19 Standard permits 

      A standard permit allows organisations to operate a vehicle with up to 16 passenger seats for ‘hire or reward’.   

      In recent years there have been some questions about using section 19 permits on smaller vehicles with less than 9 passenger seatsCTA understand the value of small vehicle permits to the sector, and remain committed to ensuring that they remain available for use by CT operators.  

      We continue to seek clarification from the Department for Transport and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner to resolve this query. In the meantime, we will continue to issue permits for smaller vehicles as a designated ‘permit issuing body’ but may be required to shorten the time limits on these permits or suspend small vehicle permits if the legal position is clarified. 

      Section 19 Large Bus permits 

      A large bus permit allows an organisation to operate a vehicle with more than 16 passenger seats. 

      Where can we obtain a section 19 permit? 

      Application forms for section 19 and 22 permits can be obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)or you can contact them by telephone on 0300 123 9000. 

      As CTA are a designated ‘permit issuing body’, we are able to issue standard permits to our members. CTA members can access this service by logging into the Members Area of this website and downloading the permit application form and guidance notes. For login details, check your membership certificate. 

      If you are not a CTA Member but would like to know more about the CTA and our membership offer, please check out our CTA Membership pages. 

      How much do they cost? 

      Section 19 standard permits cost £11.00 and they are valid for five years. Section 19 large bus permits cost £20.00 and are also valid for five years. 

      Section 19 permits issued by CTA are only valid if your organisation has a current membership. Please note if your membership should lapse, your permits will no longer be valid. 

    • What is a section 22 permit and do we need one?

      What is a section 22 permit and do we need one? 

      section 22 permit, or community bus permit, is issued for use in Great Britain to allow organisations to provide transport for members of the general public through a local registered bus route.  The local registered bus route has to be registered with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.  The operator can also request the Traffic Commissioner allows them to also operate ‘other services’; this will allow them to offer other services which are of benefit to the community without requiring an alternative permit. 

      CTA members can find detailed resources about what permit they may need, in our members’ area.

      Where can we obtain a section 22 permit? 

      Application forms for section 22 permits can be obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agencyor you can contact them by telephone on 0300 123 9000. 

    • What is a section 10B permit and do we need one?

      Section 10B small bus permits are issued for use in Northern Ireland. These permits cannot be used to provide transport to members of the general public and organisations must ensure that they are only carrying passengers that their organisation is set up to benefit. 

      A permit allows an organisation, who owns or leases a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats, to operate the vehicle for ‘hire or reward’. 

      CTA members can find detailed resources about what permit they may need, in our members’ area.

      Where can we obtain a permit? 

      The Department of Infrastructure can issue section 10B permits in Northern Ireland to not-for-profit organisations.  You can contact them on 028 9054 0540. 

      As CTA are a designated ‘permit issuing body’, we are able to issue Section 10B permits to our members. CTA members can access this service by logging into the Members Area of this website and downloading the permit application form and guidance notes. For login details, check your membership certificate. 

      If you are not a CTA Member but would like to know more about the CTA and our membership offer please check out our CTA Membership pages. 

      How much do they cost? 

      Section 10B permits cost £11. 

      Section 10B permits issued by CTA are only valid if your organisation has a current membership. Please note if your membership should lapse, your permits will no longer be valid.  

      Do they have an expiry date? 

      No, section 10B permits do not have an expiry date however, operators must ensure that permit discs are legible and that they do not overwrite any information on them. 

    • What do permits look like, and how long do they last?

      All permits are in two parts. 

      • The A4 paper permit, which should be stored safely in the office 
      • The disc, which must be displayed in the windscreen of the vehicle 

      For your minibus operation to be legal you must have both parts and the disc must remain readable.  If either part is missing, or if the writing on the disc fades, get in touch with the designated body who issued the permit to apply for a replacement.  You must not overwrite any of the information on a permit disc and you must not display photocopied discs. 

      The old section 19 small bus permits issued prior to April 2009 did not have an expiry date. Under the Local Transport Act 2008, all these permits expired on 6 April 2014. If you still have one of these old permits, you will need to apply for a replacement. 

      Section 19 standard permits issued from April 2009 are valid for up to five years and must be renewed before the expiry date shown. 

      Section 10b permits in Northern Ireland do not currently have an expiry date. It is possible that this arrangement may change in the future with the introduction of new legislation. 


    • Who can drive our minibus using section 19 or 22 permits?

      Category D1 101 entitlement 

      Drivers who passed their car driving test before 1st January 1997 will normally have a D1 with a 101 code – minibus, not for hire or reward – entitlement on their licence.  This will remain on the licence until it expires when the driver reaches 70 years old or unless removed by DVLA or DVA in Northern Ireland, usually for medical reasons.  Even though the licence code stands for ‘not for hire or reward’ these licence holders can drive a minibus operated under a section 19 or 22 permit without additional conditions. 

      Drivers who hold a category D1 101 on their driving licence can drive a minibus of any weight, provide their services as a volunteer or be paid directly to drive it. 

      Category B entitlement (standard car licence) 

      Drivers who passed their driving test after 1 January 1997 will not have the D1 101 entitlement on their licence and they will only have a B entitlement. They may drive a minibus on behalf of a non-commercial body as long as all of the follow conditions are met: 

      • They have held their licence for 2 years 
      • They are aged 21 or over 
      • They receive no payment or consideration for driving, other than out-of-pocket expenses 
      • The vehicle’s Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) cannot exceed 3.5 tonnes, or 4.25 tonnes if the vehicle is adapted with specialist accessible equipment, e.g. a tail lift 
      • They cannot tow a trailer  

      The two conditions that cause most problems are the vehicle weight restriction and not being able to pay drivers.  The third bullet point above is normally interpreted as meaning that the driver is a volunteer.  However, there is a legal opinion that where an employee does not have driving as part of their job description and they receive no more pay as a result of their driving duties, they could be considered to be meeting the condition set out above.  This opinion has not been tested in a court but has been widely accepted within the sector. 

      The additional 750kg weight attributed to ‘specialised equipment’ is the maximum allowance permitted to directly offset the additional weight of any ‘specialised equipment’ which is intended for the carriage of disabled passengers, therefore, any allowance claimed over the 3.5 tonnes limit must be attributed to this equipment.  The website provides an example of ‘specialised equipment’ as being a ramp however, operators and drivers must ensure that any ‘specialised equipment’ stays on the minibus for this concession to apply; if there is no ‘specialist equipment’ on the minibus then the Maximum Authorised Mass cannot exceed 3.5 tonnes. 

      Maximum Authorised Mass 

      Both operators and drivers need to take care with the Maximum Authorised Mass of any vehicle they are operating or driving.  The Maximum Authorised Mass, or Gross Vehicle Weight as it is also known, is the maximum carrying capacity of the vehicle; this is the vehicle when it is full of diesel along with all the passengers and driver.  It may be possible to overload a vehicle where heavy wheelchairs are carried or where the payload is small.  For more information, CTA members can log into the Members’ Area and view our advice leaflet in the Operational section – Minibuses and Overloading. 

      Where any of the above conditions cannot be met, the driver will need to pass a second driving test in a minibus including theory, hazard perception and practical tests, and a medical.  This will gain them a full PCV D1 entitlement.  For more information, CTA members can log into the Members’ Area and view our advice leaflet in the Training section – Gaining a PCV D1 Entitlement. 

      CTA members can access more information and resources on driver licencing in the members’ area of our website. 

    • Who can drive our minibuses operated using section 10B permits?

      Category D1 101 entitlement 

      Drivers who passed their car driving test before 1st January 1997 will normally have a D1(101) – minibus, not for hire or reward – entitlement on their licence.  This entitlement will remain on the licence until it expires, usually when the driver reaches 70 years old or unless removed by DVA, usually for medical reasons.  Even though the licence restriction says ‘not for hire or reward’ these licence holders can drive a minibus operated under a section 10B permit with the following conditions: 

      • They are only able to drive a minibus on a voluntary basis and they can receive out-of-pocket expenses. 
      • There is no weight restriction attached to the size of the minibus the driver can drive, however they must not overload a minibus which has had its weight restricted. 

      Drivers, such as teachers, health workers and caretakers who drive a minibus as part of their employment are deemed to be paid drivers.  These drivers will need to hold: 

      • a full PCV D1 driving licence gained by taking a second test. 
      • a Driver Qualification Card to demonstrate that they have taken the required periodic training, called the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence or Driver CPC. 

      Category B entitlement 

      Drivers who passed their driving test from 1 January 1997 were not granted the D1 101 entitlement on their licence and they will only have a B entitlement. If a driver with only a category B entitlement can comply with all of the following conditions they may drive, on behalf of a non-commercial body for social purposes but not for hire or reward, if they: 

      • are the holder of a full licence authorising the driving of vehicles in category B; 
      • have held that licence for an aggregate period of not less than 2 years; 
      • are aged 21 or over, but under 70 (unless the driver has passed a PCV medical and has gain the restriction code 79 (NFHR); and 
      • receive no payment or consideration for so doing, other than out-of-pocket expenses; 
      • drive a vehicle included in sub-category D1 which has no trailer attached and has a maximum authorised mass- 
      • not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, excluding any part of that weight which is attributable to specialised equipment intended for the carriage of disabled passengers, and 
      • not exceeding 4.25 tonnes otherwise.

      CTA members can access more information and resources on driver licencing in the members’ area of our website.  

    • Can drivers over 70 still drive our minibus?

      In Great Britain 

      In Great Britain when drivers reach 70 years old, they will only be able to continue to drive a minibus operated under a section 19 or 22 permit if they pass a medical to PCV standards.  Drivers will have to complete the D2 form (Application for Lorry, Bus or Minibus driving licence) and also get their doctor to complete a D4 (Medical Examination Report) Check with your GP for the cost of this. Both the D2 and D4 then have to be sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to enable them to renew the driving licence.  Certain health conditions will mean that an application has to be approved by a medical panel and in certain circumstances a licence will not be issued which enables the driver to drive minibuses.   

      There is no renewal fee to DVLA at this point; however, if the driver seeks to regain D1 after it has been lost, the DVLA will charge a fee of £6.00. 

      The above process will have to be repeated every 3 years in order for a driver to continue driving minibuses under Permits.  The driver’s license will show the code D1 79 (NFHR) following this renewal. 

      In Northern Ireland 

      In NI when drivers reach 70 years old they will only be able to continue to drive a minibus operated under a section 10B permit if they renew their entitlement with the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA).  The driver will need to complete a DL1R form and return it to the DVA along with their photocard driving licence and counterpart; and include a new passport type certified photograph which must be signed and dated on the back by either an MP (member of parliament), Justice of the Peace, minister of religion or a professionally qualified person (eg: engineer, lawyer, teacher, shop-keeper, librarian, local business person, local councillor, bank official, established civil servant, police officer or someone of similar standing) who has known them for at least two years and must not be related to them.  They will have to send original identity documentation only if their name has changed since their last licence was issued. 

      Drivers under 70 years old with a medically restricted licence may take the medical, as for drivers at age 70 or over. It is possible for these drivers to continue to drive a minibus without the D1 entitlement as long as they are able to meet all of the conditions which apply to new drivers. It should be noted, however, that people with certain conditions (e.g. insulin-controlled diabetes) will not be able to pass the medical. 

      CTA members can access more information and resources on driver licencing in the members’ area of our website. 

    • Do we need to carry out Driver Licence Checks?

      It is important in all cases that a driver’s licence is checked by a knowledgeable person at least every six months to ensure they still comply with the legal, insurance and organisational requirements.  It is important that all drivers understand that they are required to inform the operator if anything changes, such as any medical conditions, new endorsements (penalty points, e.g. for speeding), or are disqualified from driving. 

      Operators should be aware that driving licence counterparts (also known as the paper license) are no longer issued. In order to correctly check a drivers driving entitlement, they need to ask the driver for a ‘check code’ which the driver can request using this link. Once the driver has provided the operator with this ‘check code’ operators can then use the service provided on the website to see the DVLA records for that driver. 

      Drivers can go online, using the service provided on the website to check the details that the Driver and Vehicle Licence Agency holds on them.  They can also use this link to obtain a ‘check code’ that they can give to their employer or organisation they are volunteering for to enable them to check the drivers driving entitlements. 

      CTA members can access more information and resources on driver licencing in the members’ area of our website. 

    • Is there any additional training our drivers should receive?

      In all cases, but particularly where an additional driving test in a minibus has not been required, it is good practice to have drivers trained and assessed in minibus driving and passenger safety before they take passengers out. MiDAS – the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme – provides a structured programme for the assessment and training of drivers. 

      If your drivers or passenger assistants are expected to operate a passenger lift on your vehicles it is a legal requirement that they receive training to do so correctly. 

      Further information can be found in the training section of CTA’s website. Under the MiDAS arrangements drivers are reassessed every four years to ensure they remain competent. A similar scheme is available for MPV drivers. 

      Reduced insurance premiums are available to CTA Member organisations that adopt the MiDAS training scheme. You can contact the dedicated CTA insurance team on or 0333 234 1146 for a full review of your insurance needs. 


    • Do our drivers need to do a daily vehicle check?

      Walkaround checks (sometimes described as daily checks) are very important.  There are a range of items that can be easily checked on a regular basis which will ensure that potentially costly faults are picked up at an early stage, before serious damage occurs.  A responsible person must undertake a walkaround check before a vehicle is used. While these are often described as daily checks, they may need to take place more often if more than one driver is responsible for the vehicle during the day. 

      Drivers must be aware that they are legally responsible for the vehicle whilst they are driving it, so it is in their best interest to complete the vehicle check before they drive it rather than rely on another person.  Operators should provide training for their drivers to show them what checks are required and how items should be checked.   

      These checks are best carried out using a form which itemises things that need to be checked with a ‘tick box’ that the person undertaking the check can tick to indicate that they have checked each item.  The form should also have a space for a signature and the date to be used by the person carrying out the checks (remember, you will need two people to check the brake lights).  This paperwork can then be kept as an accurate record of preventative maintenance carried out on the vehicle. 

      An example Daily Checklist/Vehicle Log Sheet is provided in our Maintenance Resources, which can be downloaded from the Advice Resources section of the Members Area of this website. 

    • Do we need to report vehicle defects?

      Even with regular servicing and a rigorous checking system, faults or defects will still occur from time to time.  In order to ensure that these are rectified as soon as possible, a formal defect reporting system should be established.  Every driver should have access to a vehicle defect report form or defect book (many organisations use the reverse side of the drivers log sheet or walkaround checklist). 

      When a fault or defect is identified, the form should be filled in, signed and dated.  It should then be returned to the Fleet Manager, co-ordinator or other responsible person for action.  There should be a clear process by which drivers, who have identified a defect, know whether it makes the vehicle un-roadworthye.g. clear notation on the defect report form. If a vehicle is not roadworthy due to a defect, that vehicle cannot be used until the defect is resolved. 

      Defect report forms should be monitored on a regular basis (at least weekly), to ensure when faults are reported they have been actioned promptly. 

      Any report form where a defect has been noted must be kept, along with remedial action taken and the signature of the person who resolved the defectfor 15 months. 

    • What are safety inspections?

       A nominated person should be responsible for ensuring that a full schedule of inspections takes place on all passenger vehicles that you operate. These are often known as 10 week checks. The operator of a vehicle has a legal duty of care to ensure that vehicles they operate are safe and do not pose a danger to anyone. 

      Safety inspections are similar to an MOT and check the road safety items of the vehicle. They should be carried out by a competent person who is able to sign the inspection document to state that in their professional opinion the vehicle will remain safe and legal until the next scheduled safety inspection. 

      A person undertaking safety inspections must be technically competent and operationally aware of the safety standards that apply to the vehicles they examine.  They should have been trained in the techniques of vehicle examination, diagnosis and reporting, and possess a sound working knowledge of the relevant inspection manuals produced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.   

      A safety inspector should not be expected to carry out repair or servicing work during the course of the safety check. 

      In Northern Ireland a safety inspection must also include a brake test. 

      Safety inspections should be carried out with a maximum interval between inspections of 10 weeks.  Vehicles that are 12 years old or older should be being safety inspected every 6 weeks. 

    • Do we need to check our passenger lifts?

      Passenger lifts are required by law to be inspected least every six months and load-tested annually by a competent person.  The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) cover the use of all lifts. 

      Following an inspection, a report must be given to an appropriate person in your organisation to ensure that the relevant action can be taken to repair any faults or defects.  These inspection reports must be kept for a minimum of two years. 


    • Can we use a bus lane?

      Bus lanes on general purpose roads and “Buses only” roads are reserved for ‘buses’ and also, where indicated on the signs, pedal cycles and taxis. 

      A ‘bus’ in the context of these regulations includes all passenger vehicles with more than 8 passenger seats as well as any local buses not so constructed or adapted when operating a registered local service. 

      The lanes are clearly marked with special signs which indicate times of operation and it is an offence for other vehicles to use them at these times except for taxis and cyclists if the sign so indicates. 

      County councils, unitary authorities’ councils, metropolitan county councils and in Scotland, regional councils may make local traffic regulations orders to restrict lane use to “local” buses and to control picking up and setting down points used by buses providing local and/or other services and excursions and tours services. 

      If a bus lane is marked as ‘Local’ then only buses operating on a local registered bus service may use the lane, if this is the case a minibus or bus operated using a section 19 permit cannot use it. 

      Minibuses and buses operated using section 19 permits are allowed to use bus lanes as they are within the definition of a ‘bus’.  An accessible minibus which has had seats removed for the carriage of passengers who are using their wheelchair as a seat will still be, by definition, a bus as the legislation states that they have to be constructed or adapted to carry more than 8 passengers. 

      In NI there are different regulations around the use of bus lanes, dependent on the type of bus lane and time of use. Find out more here: 

    • Can we use school bus signs?

      Yes, buses being used to carry children under the age of 16 to and from school at the beginning and end of the day must display a special prescribed sign both at the front and the rear of the vehicle. 

      Minibuses operated using section 19 permits which provide home-to-school transport should display school bus signs. 

      The signs must have a black border enclosing a silhouette of two children on a yellow reflective background.  There should be a sign displayed at the front of the vehicle which must be at least 250mm × 250mm with the black border not more than 20mm wide and one displayed at the rear of the vehicle at least 400mm × 400mm with the black border not more than 30mm wide. 

    • Can we advertise on our minibuses?

      Yes, you can advertise your own services on your minibuses when they are operated using section 19 permits if these services are not operated for profit. Remember that section 19 permits cannot be used ‘with a view to profit nor incidentally to an activity which is itself carried on with a view to profit’.

      Commercial Advertising or Sponsorship 

      Section 19 permit vehicles: 

      As a vehicle operated using a section 19 permit cannot be used ‘with a view to profit nor incidentally to an activity which is itself carried on with a view to profit; then care has to be taken when considering commercial advertising or sponsorship on your vehicles.  These types of deals are common these days and lawyers for the Department for Transport have clarified that it is the relationship between the permit bus operation and the sponsor that must be taken into account when deciding whether the requirements of ‘with a view to profit nor incidentally to an activity which is itself carried on with a view to profit’ are met. 

      The purpose of section 19 as a whole is to enable certain types of non-commercial service to be operated without the need for an operator’s licence. For example, a section 19 service supported by a supermarket, could not provide a service to the store because the use of the bus would be incidental to a profit-seeking activity.  However, other types of sponsorship unconnected with the operation of the vehicle may not violate the section 19 restriction.  Examples would be a vehicle supplier or manufacturer donating vehicles in return for the operator carrying their sponsorship details on the vehicle, or a vehicle carrying general advertising (e.g. of commercial products) unconnected with its operation. In both cases, the operation of the permit vehicle is independent of the sponsors or advertisers, who only gain a fringe benefit from the display of their name or advertising message. 

      Section 22 permit vehicles: 

      The rules which enable section 22 permits contain no restrictions on the use of commercial sponsorship or advertising. 


    • Is my organisation eligible for CTA membership?

      To be eligible for CTA membership, your organisation must be: 

      1) A not-for-profit organisation that provides transport, constituted as either: 

      1.1 A charity and/or a company limited by guarantee without share capital. 

      1.2 A Community Interest Company without share capital. 

      1.3 Another not-for-profit organisation listed with a regulator such as an Industrial and Provident Society. 

      1.4 If none of the above apply, the organisation’s aims, objectives and methods of working should be stated in a document that is available for public inspection. 

      1.5 A primary, secondary school or sixth form college. 

      1.6 A public sector body. 

      2) Your organisation must be based within England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. 

      You can click here to find out more about becoming a CTA member. 

    • How long does it take to process a new membership application?

      We approve and process new membership applications regularly throughout the week. Once processed, membership packs are usually mailed out within 3 working days. If we have a query on an application, one of our team will get in touch with you to check details which can sometimes lead to a short delay in processing the application; our memberships team will keep you fully informed of timescales if this is the case. 

      Membership passwords, to access the Members’ Area on the website, are emailed out as soon as a membership application is processed, meaning you can access things like online copies of Together, permit application forms and book onto member events before you even receive your membership pack in the post! 

      If you are renewing your membership see the FAQ ‘What happens when my membership is due for renewal?’ 

    • Do we have to provide any documentation to support our membership application?

      If you are a registered charity or a registered company, you do not need to provide any documentation. We check the appropriate Regulator website(s) for your organisation’s full details. 

      Where we are unable to check an appropriate Regulator website(s), we’ll ask for your latest set of accounts. 

      Public bodies and state funded primary, secondary schools or sixth form colleges may not need to provide any documentation. 

    • How much does membership cost?

      For voluntary organisations who are registered charities or companies, membership fees are based on your organisations most recently published gross annual income, within seven bands. Gross annual income is for the organisation as a whole, not just the transport services.  There are separate bands for public bodies and state funded primary, secondary schools or sixth form colleges. You can see the fees on our Membership Fees table at For further information contact the Membership Team on 0161 351 1475 or email 

    • When will our membership start and end?

      When membership is approved, we will send a confirmation letter and advise the membership start date. It will run for one year to the end of the calendar month e.g. if we approve membership on 19 January it will expire on 31 January the following year.

    • Can we cancel our membership and receive a refund?

      If membership is no longer required, it must be cancelled in writing (via email to at any time, however; we are unable to offer refunds. Please include your membership number in such emails.  You may find you still receive communications from us for a short while after your notification. 

    • What happens when my membership is due for renewal?

      You’ll be notified no later than 10 working days before your membership is due to expire. A written invitation to re-join will be sent to the address that you have given to us. If you miss this invitation we also write to you the month after your membership has lapsed with a reminder. 

      Once you have re-joined your membership password which gives you access to the Members’ Area will remain. Your CTA Membership Certificate has both your username (which is the main email address that you registered with us), and your password printed on it. 

    • Do you store my credit card details?

      No, we do not store your credit card details or have access to them. These are only used during the payment process and all of your data is processed in accordance with the latest guidance on GDPR. 

    • How do I get a VAT invoice?

      We are unable to offer this as our membership fees no longer include VAT. 

    • How is our membership band calculated?

      We determine the membership band based on the gross annual income of your whole organisation (not just the transport service) at the point that your membership is due for renewal. We will use your most recently published accounts to see this or we will request your latest set of accounts. We review membership bands on an annual basis at the point of renewal. To view our membership costs, just head over to

    • How do we log in to the Members’ Area?

      In order to have access to our member benefits such as booking onto member only events, our publications and permit application forms you will need to log in to our website. To do this, click the Members’ Area’ button at the top right of the page or under the ‘Membership’ tab, then on the screen that appears, type in your username which is the main email address that you registered with us, followed by your password as shown on your membership certificate, then click the blue ‘Log In’ button. 

      There is the option to tick the ‘Remember me on this computer until I log out’ box, this will save you having to go through the steps to log in each time you visit. 

      You can access the members’ area via 

      If you’re having difficulties logging into the Members’ Area, you can call the team on 0161 351 1475 or email 

    • What details can we access online?

      You can view your organisation’s registered name, address and primary contact details, as well as links to our publications, advice resources and important CTA communications. 

      You can also add additional users to your account so more people from your organisation can use their individual email addresses to access the exclusive member only resources. 

    • How do we unsubscribe from emails?

      Each email we send includes an unsubscribe link at the bottom. Clicking this will update our records and we will no longer send you email newsletters. 

    • Can we update our organisation’s contact details online?

      Yes, you need to log in to the Members’ Area. Updating your organisations details online will inform our team who will then update them on our database. Click here to access the relevant page. 

    • How can we read ‘Together’ or advice resources online?

      You can find the current issue of Together, the Journal of the CTA and previous issues along with advice resources in the Members’ Area.

      We do not recommend printing and storing advice leaflets as they are updated online if and when changes in legislation or best practice occur. The most up to date information can always be found in the Members’ Area of the CTA website. 

    • Can we obtain a section 19 or 10B permit from you without becoming a member?

      Unfortunately not – CTA are a designated permit issuing body meaning that we can only issue permits to our members. This also means that for your permit to remain valid you need to ensure continuity of your membership with the CTA. 

      Please be aware that membership of CTA does not guarantee you will be issued with a permit these are considered separately to membership and have additional criteria. 


    • We have a passenger who keeps removing their seatbelt while the vehicle is in motion. Can we use a buckle guard to prevent them undoing their seatbelt?

      The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations state anything (such as commercially available ‘buckle guards’) that modifies the seatbelt or prevents easy access to the buckle should not be used and could be subject to enforcement action. Our advice to operators would be to avoid the use of any tools, guards, or restraints which do not comply with these regulations, and use alternative measures such as distraction, additional support in the vehicle, and (if needed) disabled people’s seatbelts.