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.
Minibuses come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
For hire purposes, the most common sizes of minibus are 8 or 9 seater, 12 seater, 15 seater and 17 seater (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 most popular vehicle used for 15 and 17-seat minibuses in the UK is probably the Ford Transit. You may also find minibuses based on the Renault Master - another popular large van.
For smaller, 9 and 12 seater vehicles, Volkswagen Transporters and Mercedes Vito-based minibuses are popular choices, too, as is the Ford Tourneo Custom.
The smallest vehicles on offer from rental companies are 7 seater MPVs which are large cars with three rows of seats. Popular examples of these are the Ford Galaxy and the Chrysler Voyager.
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:
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).
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:
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.
Speed limits for minibuses are slightly different to those for cars:
Note the lower speed limits on single and dual carriageway roads.
The information provided on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge. However, vanrental.co.uk cannot be held responsible for any damages or losses resulting from any errors or omissions or from improper usage of a rented vehicle.