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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Driving passenger carrying vehicles (PCV) on a car driving licence

There are special licensing arrangements allowing you to drive minibuses and buses without having to hold the higher passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) driving licence entitlement. Drivers of minibuses having 9-16 passenger seats will normally need to hold a PCV licence category D1 or a category D licence to drive larger buses.

Exempted passenger carrying vehicles

Minibus rental companies

Some minibus rental companies may insist on the higher category (D1) even if the exemptions apply - check with your rental company

Holders of a full category B (car) driving licence may drive any of the vehicles listed below:

  • a passenger carrying vehicle manufactured more than 30 years before the date when it is driven and not used for hire or reward or for the carriage of more than 8 passengers
  • a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats provided the following conditions are met:

i. the vehicle is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body but not for hire or reward
ii. the driver is aged 21
iii. the driver has held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years
iv. the driver is providing the service on a voluntary basis
v. the minibus maximum weight is not more than 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 tonnes including any specialist equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers
vi. if the driver is aged 70 or over, is able to meet the health standards for driving a D1 vehicle

When driving a minibus under these conditions you may not receive any payment or consideration for doing so other than out of pocket expenses or tow any size trailer; you may only drive minibuses in this country. Drivers aged 70 or over will need to make a special application, which involves meeting higher medical standards.

Holders of a full category D (PCV) driving licence can also drive a passenger carrying recovery vehicle. This is defined as a vehicle (not being an articulated goods vehicle combination) which:

  • has an unladen weight not exceeding 10.2 tonnes
  • is being operated by the holder of a public service vehicle (PSV) operator's licence and, is being used for the purpose of:

i. proceeding to, or returning from, a place where assistance is to be, or has been, given to a damaged or disabled passenger-carrying vehicle
ii. giving assistance to or moving a disabled passenger-carrying vehicle or moving a damaged vehicle

Minimum age

You must be aged 21 or over to drive:

  • exempted passenger carrying vehicles
  • any vehicle that weighs more than 7.5 tonnes

How are vehicles classified for driver licensing purposes?

Categories of vehicles and their descriptions can be found on the link below.

DVLA cannot give legal advice on how vehicles are classified but, generally speaking it depends on the weight of the vehicle or the number of passengers it can carry.

Any queries should be directed to the DVLA on 0300 790 6801. Lines are open during the following times:

Driver and Vehicle General lines - Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 7.00 pm; Saturday 8.00 am to 2.00 pm

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