Council Minibuses and the Law

 Do you drive, or want to drive a Council minibus? Please read the information below about the legal requirements affecting minibus hire.

If members of a non-commercial body (for example, voluntary groups, or an employee driving a minibus on council business) wish to use a minibus belonging to Aberdeenshire Council, they must ensure that they meet the requirements as detailed below. Failure to comply with the following requirements may mean the driver is in breach of the law and could be prosecuted.

An information booklet on passenger transport provided under Section 19 or Section 22 permits is available from the VOSA website.

The driving licence requirements for driving a minibus in the course of employment and where there is no 'Hire and Reward' are:-


The driver must be aged 21 or over and hold a full United Kingdom driving licence to drive a car and this licence must have been issued before 1st January 1997.


If the driving licence was issued after 1st January 1997 then, to drive a minibus, the driver must hold a Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) - Category D1 driving licence issued either by the United Kingdom or by another member state of the European Community.

The minimum driving licence requirements for driving a minibus with up to sixteen passenger seats, for social purposes are different from those where the minibus is being used in the course of employment.

The minimum requirements for driving a minibus for social purposes are:

  • The driver must provide his/her services on a voluntary basis
  • The vehicle is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body, but not for hire or reward
  • The driver must be aged 21 or over
  • The driver must have held a full driving licence (Category B) for at least 2 years

If the vehicle weight is over 3500kg (or 4250kg if it has accessible equipment) you must have category D1 on your driving licence. If you passed your driving test after 1st January 1997 you must have passed a separate test to gain the D1 entitlement.

Most Aberdeenshire Council vehicles weigh more than the legal limit for non D1 licence holders. Please check your driving licence to see if you are entitled to drive a minibus weighing more than 3500 kg. Section 9 of your photo card licence shows your entitlement. Please see the examples below:

Pre-1997 - Photo card showing D1 entitlement

Public Transport  

Post 1997 - Photo card showing no minibus entitlement

 back of license.jpg  

If the D1 entitlement is not shown on your licence you may only legally drive vehicles weighing up to 3500 kg. If you require further clarification, please contact us using the details below.

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