If you want to drive a bus, coach or minibus then you are going to need the correct PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) licence entitlement. If you are looking to drive a PCV for hire or reward, you will also require up to date Driver CPC training. See our separate section on Driver CPC for further information on this statutory requirement.
The categories explained.
For the PCV industry there are 2 main types of driving licence to acquire; categories D and D1. The two different categories are based on the number of seats the vehicle in question has.
Category D: this represents either a coach or bus with more than 8 seats. It’s worth noting that with a category D licence, a trailer may be towed. However, as with the general rule for trailers, this cannot exceed 750 KG Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW.) If you want to tow a trailer in excess of 750 KG GVW, you will need to obtain the D+E licence entitlement. E represents the trailer entitlement. Many training firms who offer PCV training can also provide trailer training.
Category D1: this represents a small passenger carrying vehicle (minibus) with a minimum of 8 passenger seats and not more than 16 passenger seats. The same rule applies (as with D entitlement) for trailers. To tow a trailer over 750 KG GVW (with a D1 licence), candidates must obtain the D1+E entitlement. Speak to your chosen training firm for further information.
If you passed your category B (car) test before 1st January 1997, you should already have an entitlement to drive a small minibus (D1). However, if you check your licence, you may find that there is a 101 restriction attached. This restriction prevents you from driving a D1 vehicle for hire and reward. In order to rectify this, you will need to obtain 35 hours of Driver CPC training as mentioned above.
How old to drive a bus, coach or minibus?
In order to drive a ‘restricted’ PCV (restricted means you can only drive the vehicle within a 50km radius of where the vehicle is based) an applicant needs to be at least 18 years of age.
For all other category D licence requirements (in conjunction with initial Driver CPC training), the minimum age is 20 years. This limit was reduced down from 21 years on 19th January 2013.
To obtain a PCV digital tachograph card, a licence holder also needs to be at least 20 years old.
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