Everything you need to know about a D1 licence for minibuses

Everything you need to know about a D1 licence for minibuses

If you’re looking at hiring a minibus - either for daily hire, weekly hire, or flexi hire - your D1 licence should be pretty high on your list of priorities. Now, if you’re not entirely sure about the nature of a D1 licence and why you need it, you’ll probably have found that some hire companies assume a certain level of base familiarity with licences from the off. That can be slightly vexing if you just want the answers to basic questions like: ‘what is a D1 licence?’, ‘why do I need one?’ and ‘how do I get one?’. So with that in mind, here are all the basics you need to know. 

What is a D1 licence?

The D1 licence is the category for minibuses that allows you to drive a minibus with between 9 and 16 passenger seats. Holders of a D1 licence are allowed to drive vehicles up to a length of 8 metres, and permitted to tow a trailer with a maximum weight of 750kg. 
If you passed your driving test prior before the 1st January 1997, you’ll have been automati­cally awarded the category D1 on your licence. However, if you passed it on any date after that, you’ll have to apply to have it added.

Can I drive a minibus without a D1?

Technically, you can, although you have to meet certain criteria to do so. Crucially, you can’t be driving it in any commercial capacity - in other words, for work. The full list of legal conditions is as follows: 
  • You must only be driving the minibus on a voluntary basis
  • You must be over the age of 21
  • You must have held a full driving licence for 2 or more years
  • If over 70 years of age, you need to meet Group 2 medical standards – which must be registered by a medical practitioner
  • The maximum weight of the limit is 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 tonnes if fitted with a passenger lift/ramp
If you’re planning to hire a minibus for commercial services or work purposes (as most of our customers will be here at Intack Self Drive), you’ll need a D1 licence for your business to stay legally compliant. 

How do I get a D1 licence?

Thankfully, it’s not too tricky to get your own D1 licence. If you need to obtain a D1 licence to hire your minibus, here is a list of steps you’ll need to take:
  • You must first make sure that you meet the Drivers Certificate of Professional Competence (a.k.a. Drivers CPC) requirements
  • You must fill out the forms to acquire a Category D1 Provisional Licence (these are available online on the Government’s DVLA website)
  • You must pass your medical examination which can be undertaken by your local GP – this proves that you are healthy enough to drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers
  • You’ll need to pass your D1 theory test and your practical driving test
If you’re hiring a minibus for commercial purposes, you’ll also need to ensure you have permits for the Minibus Provisional Entitlement and the Public Service Vehicle Operator Licence. 
There are one or two other details and legalities surrounding D1 licences, but that’s certainly all the crucial information. If you’re looking to hire a minibus for your business, it is likely going to fall under the bracket of ‘commercial’ and therefore, anyone driving your hired minibus must hold a full D1 licence.
Whatever you need your minibus for, you can count on us here at Intack Self Drive to provide the very best vehicles to suit your purposes, with the best prices when you come to hire a car or van. If you’re thinking about going anywhere for slightly longer on the other hand, our Flexi Hire services are designed to give you the very best value on long-term hire. If you’ve got any questions or need anything clarified, our friendly team is only a phone call away - feel free to give us a ring on 01254 57811!
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