PCV Licence: Become a Fully Licensed Bus Driver
If you are not driving a minibus but want to learn, you will need to apply for a PCV licence. A PCV licence is a special type of licence that allows you to drive minibuses and buses without having to hold the higher passenger carrying vehicle driving licence entitlement.
Due to the growing popularity of minibus rentals, companies renting out these types of vehicles are thriving all over the UK, thus creating lots of employment opportunities that most people don’t want to pass up, hence their desire to apply for a PCV licence.
There are basically two types of PCV licences that you can apply for provided you meet the mandatory conditions set.
PCV Category D1 Licence
The first one is the PCV Category D1 Licence for those who want to drive minibuses. A minibus is classed as a small Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) which typically has between eight and sixteen passenger seats and an allowance for a trailer of up to 750kg.
Anyone who passed their car driving test previous to January 1997 may already hold a Category D1 restricted licence for social and pleasure use. If you intend to drive a PCV vehicle with over 7 seats for hire or reward you are legally required to pass the D1 driving test to have the full PCV driving entitlement.
PCV Category D Licence
The second type of PCV licence is the PCV Category D Licence which is for those who want to drive coaches and buses. The PCV Category D Licence is for a larger bus or coaches with more than eight passenger seats for hire or reward and a trailer of up to 750 kg. The PCV Category D Licence entitles the driver to drive any size of PCV, including single or double decker buses for hire or reward.
Who Can Apply for a PCV Licence?
So who can apply for a PCV licence and what are the qualifications? First you’ll need to have a category B licence (car licence) which you must have held for at least 2 years, be over the age of 21 unless you are a member of the Armed Forces or authorized by the Ministry of Defense, applying for provisional D entitlement on your driver’s licence and meet the medical and eyesight.
Note that for this particular requirement to apply for a PCV licence, a D4-DVLA Medical Report must be completed by a qualified GP and that if you decide to use your own GP, it could cost you as £96 or more for this service. Medical conditions which can affect your chances of obtaining a PCV licence include epilepsy (you must however, remain seizure free for 10 years since your last seizure without anticonvulsant medication.
If you have suffered a solitary seizure, you may apply for a Group 2 licence after 5 years provided that you have remained seizure free without medications during that time), eyesight (all applicants must be able to read in good daylight with the aid of glasses if necessary a number plate at a distance of 20.5 meters. Visual acuity must be at least 6/9 in the better eye and 6/12 in the other with uncorrected vision at least being 3/60 in both eyes) and diabetes (provided your diabetes is well-controlled and stable with written evidence from your doctor).
The first step is to request for a PCV Driver Training Vocational Pack which is usually sent by post. The pack contains the following: an application form for Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) and Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) known as the D2 form, a Medical Report (D4), information on how to fill out your LGV or PCV application form (INF2D) and an information sheet on drivers’ licence fees and the Premium Service.
Once you have passed your Medical Test and have received your PCV Provisional Licence, you will need to pass your theory D test (for a fee of £32) at a test center of your choice. The results of this test will determine the amount of training you’ll need to pass your next set of assessments, the LGV Category C (Rigid Test) and the LGV Cat C&E (Arctic, trailer drawing) tests.
The PCV (D1) test is conducted by the Driving Standards Agency and consists of two parts: Part 1 consists of multiple choice questions and Part 2 is about hazard perception. Once you have passed all these tests, you can then go for your PCV Drivers’ Training Course to get your full PCV licence. The PCV Drivers’ Training Course is usually spread over 5 days with approximately 20 hours of one-on-one instruction.
Getting your PCV licence is a great start towards a new career in driving minibuses which usually pays anywhere between £8.00-£10.00 per hour. Not only do you earn a sizable income but think of the many new friends you can make from the passengers who book you for their private tours. Everybody wins.