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Self drive minibus hire - minibus rental & hire

Hiring a minibus is a popular and practical way to transport up to 17 people (including the driver). It saves using more than one car and allows everyone to stay together in one vehicle.

How many seats in a minibus?

Minibuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

For hire purposes, the most common sizes are 8/9, 12, 15 and 17 seats (including the driver's seat).

Any vehicle with more than 17 seats requires a PCV (bus driver's) licence to drive - so you won't find these available to hire from mainstream rental companies.

The two most popular vehicles used for 15 and 17-seat minibuses in the UK are the LDV Convoy and Ford Transit. You may also find minibuses based on the Renault Master - another popular large van.

For smaller (9 and 12 seat) vehicles, Volkswagen Transporters and Mercedes Vito-based minibuses are popular choices, too, as are short wheelbase Ford Transits.

Minibus hire is ideal for:

  • Stag & hen nights
  • Work trips & concerts
  • Sports fixtures & team outings
  • Airport transfers
  • Musical groups
  • Weddings & birthday outings
  • Going to the races!

Driving a minibus

Most people with car licences will find that they are entitled to drive a minibus as long as it is not for 'hire or reward' (i.e. you won't be paid and you won't charge anyone for travelling, apart from costs).

However, there are a few restrictions. Here's an overview:

Drivers who passed their car tests before 01/01/1997

The good news is that you should have a category D1 entitlement on your driver's license.

This means that you can drive minibuses with up to 16 passenger seats (excluding the driver).

Drivers who passed their test after 01/01/1997 or have renewed their licenses since 01/01/1998

You will probably find that you do not have D1 entitlement on your licence.

However, according to the DVLA, you can still drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats so long as:

  • You are driving on behalf of a non-commercial body and not for hire or reward
  • You are aged 21 or over but under 70
  • You have held a car (category B) licence for at least 2 years
  • You are working on a voluntary basis
  • The minibus has a maximum weight of no greater than 3.5 tonnes (most rental minibuses)
  • You do not tow any kind of trailer

Please note this is not a definitive guide. See the Minibus Guide on the DVLA's website for full details.

You should also note that many minibus hire companies require all minibus drivers to have D1 entitlement, even where it is not required by law.

Minibus speed limits

Minibus speed limits - Self drive minibus hire

Speed limits for minibuses are slightly different to those for cars:

  • Built-up areas: 30mph
  • Single carriageways: 50mph
  • Dual carriageways: 60mph
  • Motorways: 70mph

Note the lower speed limits on single and dual carriageway roads.

Minibus hire with driver & coach hire

There are some occasions when you can't or don't want to drive yourself. You might be making a one-way journey - an airport transfer, for example - or you might be planning a stag or hen night where everyone will want to have a drink.

Whatever your situation, hiring a minibus with a driver can be the ideal solution. Minibuses can carry up to 16 passengers. For parties larger than this, coach hire is available. Coaches come in various sizes and can carry anything from 18 to 72 seats and for really large parties, you can always book two!