Minibuses – Are you driving legally?

By Emma Drew

March 10, 2015

Minibuses – Are you driving legally?

Many sports clubs and organisations rely on their minibus to be able to get to competitions and away matches. Often, they are driven by a volunteer, possibly a coach or parent, but it’s important to understand the rules that apply to who can and can’t get behind the wheel.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) rules state that provided the use is not for “hire and reward”, anyone with a licence held before 1 January 1999 can drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers.

However, if a driver obtained their licence more recently they must also:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have held a licence for at least 2 years
  • Be driving a minibus of less than 3.5 tonnes, and
  • Not be towing a trailer
  • Be driving for social purposes on a voluntary basis.

This idea of “social purpose” and “voluntary basis” can be ambiguous, therefore it is vital that clubs steer clear of anything that could be interpreted as ‘hire and reward’, such as charging for trips. Take care, however, as the payment doesn’t need to be specifically for the fare. If your members pay subs to be part of the team, and you lay on a courtesy bus to take players to away fixtures, this could be considered as hire and reward too. Doing anything that could be regarded as for hire and reward would require the organisation to obtain a full Public Service Vehicle (PSV) operator’s licence. In addition, the driver may also need a passenger carrying vehicle entitlement on their driving licence.

A simple solution

For charities and not-for-profit bodies, (which many sports clubs and organisation are), a simple solution is to apply to the DVLA for a standard or large bus (section 19) permit. This provides an exemption to the rules around hire and reward and would confirm that the club’s volunteers are driving legally when they may otherwise not be.

Without their minibus, many sports clubs would not be able to take part in local and national competitions. Please take a moment to check that your minibus is being driven legally.

How can we help?

If you have any queries please contact:

Andy Goulbourne

Sport & Recreation Associate Director

T: 0121 698 8057




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