Fiat Ducato minibus

What minibus can I drive?

Fiat Ducato minibus

Source: Fiat Professional

If you’re planning a big day out with a group of people, hiring a self-drive minibus can be the ideal solution. Instead of several cars, you only have one vehicle to park — and you only need one driver.

We often get questions from people who aren’t sure what kind of minibus they can drive on a standard car licence. So here’s a summary of what’s possible.

Be aware that some self-drive minibus hire companies may have additional restrictions. For example, some have a minibus age of 25. 

What’s a minibus?

A minibus is defined as a vehicle with between nine and 16 passenger seats (plus the driver).

Fewer than nine passengers is a car.

More than 16 passengers is a bus.

Driving licence held since BEFORE 1 January 1997

Your driving licence should have category D1 entitlement with a (101) code. This means you can drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers, but not for hire or reward.

This means you cannot drive in any commercial capacity – e.g. taxi, hotel shuttle bus.

You can still share the costs with your passengers, if it’s a family or social club outing, for example.

If you want to drive a minibus for commercial purposes, you’ll need to take an additional test.

Driving licence held from AFTER 1 January 2017

Your driving licence won’t have category D1. To drive a minibus without restrictions you’ll need to take a D1 test.

However, you can still drive a minibus with certain additional restrictions:

  • You’re over 21 and have had a full driving licence for two years or more.
  • You’re under 70 or else you pass the “Group 2 medical standards“. See your GP if unsure.
  • You are driving on a voluntary basis for social purposes for a non-commercial organisation.
  • The minibus has a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes or of 4.25 tonnes if adapted for disabled passengers. Be aware — some 16 passenger minibuses are rated at 4.25 tonnes without disabled equipment. Check with your rental company.
  • You’re not towing a trailer

Driving abroad

Your UK licence might not allow you to drive a minibus abroad. Check before you travel.

Ready to hire a minibus? Compare minibus hire prices with our search tool.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge. However, cannot be held responsible for any damages or losses resulting from any errors or omissions or from improper or unlicenced usage of a vehicle.

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