Can you drive a minibus? Lets find out…


If you’re thinking about a road trip for a getaway but there are more of you than will fit in your car, you may consider hiring a minibus. It’s much more convenient than ferrying passengers in more than one vehicle, and the seating is spacious and comfortable. Surely this is better than having someone wedged in the middle seat with their knees crushing their ribs! However, the question is whether someone in your group is licensed to drive a minibus…

Am I allowed to drive a minibus?

We’re often asked whether someone is allowed to drive a minibus with their current licence and if so, how many seats it’s allowed to have. There are a few myths about this topic, which is why we’re here to expel them! Even if you have driven a large vehicle like a minibus before, it may not be the case that you still can. DVLA states that you may be able to drive a minibus depending on the circumstances. Here is a list of conditions that you must meet if you’re going to be driving a minibus:

  • You’re over the age of 21
  • You have had a valid driver’s licence for two or more years
  • You’re not towing a trailer
  • You’re using the minibus for social purposes, and not charging passengers, not for hire or reward
  • The minibus isn’t above 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes if the vehicle includes equipment for disabled passengers, like wheelchair ramps), its maximum weight
  • If you’re over 70 years old, you must meet the ‘Group 2’ medical standards – if you’re unsure, check with your GP!

Who may not be able to drive a minibus?

If you don’t have a category D1 licence, you may be limited in which minibuses you can drive. If you’re unsure about whether you have one of these, ask yourself whether you passed your driving test before 1997? If you did, you can book your minibus without delay! If you didn’t, you can drive 9- or 14-seater minibuses, as they are within the threshold of the maximum weight of the minibus.

Why would I not be eligible to drive a 17-seater minibus?

17-seater minibuses, in most cases, are above the maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes. A lot of the time, the full tank of petrol along with mod cons and AdBlue tanks for emission, as well as 17 passengers will definitely take the bus over the 3.5-ton limit. You are unable to drive a vehicle of this weight unless you have a D1 bus driving licence.

Would I ever need a minibus permit?

Unless you are charging passengers to be in your vehicle, you don’t need a permit. A minibus permit will cover you as long as you’re driving for an organisation that operates on a voluntary basis, rather than for profit. If you’re just driving you and your friends, you’ll be fine without one!

Here at CVS Van Hire, we’re getting brand new 12-seater minibuses for you to hire in 2022. We also offer 9-seaters and 14-seaters that you’ll be able to drive, as well as 17-seaters for those that have the correct licence. Get in touch with us on 020 8003 1184 or email to get started with your hire!

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