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.
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 gov.uk 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 includingtheory, 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.
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
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.
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 driver’s driving entitlement, they need to ask the driver for a ‘check code’ which the driver can request using thislink.Once the driver has provided the operator with this ‘check code’ operators can then use the service provided on the gov.uk website to see the DVLA records for that driver.
Drivers can go online, using the service provided on the gov.uk 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 driver’s driving entitlements.
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.
Community Transport Association UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Cardiff no. 1985361 Registered office: 12 Hilton Street M1 1JF. Registered as a charity in England and Wales no. 1002222. Charity Registered in Scotland No. SC038518.