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 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.