Many different job roles may involve driving a minibus, but as of recent laws, it is not compulsory to have a minibus licence to be able to do so. Gaining your minibus drivers licence is a relatively more straightforward process than many other advanced driving courses. Here we are talking to talk through everything you need to know when considering how to become a minibus driver.
How To Become A Minibus Driver
Once passed your D1 Minibus Training, you will same have the same driving licence as you would with a generic licence, however, the back of the card will have validation dates printed next to the minibus illustration. Depending on the laws, your licence may enable to drive a minibus in others countries as well as the UK.
What You Need Before Training
Before considering opting for minibus driver training, you must have had your driving licence for at least two years and be over the age of 21. Similarly to any type of driving, you must have an efficient level of eyesight meaning you must be able to read a vehicle number plate from 20 metres away and if you wear glasses or contact lenses, these must be worn at all times while operating the vehicle. No medical tests need to be undergone before taking the driver’s seat unless you are over the age of 70 if so you must pass your PCV medical test. During your medical test, you will be tested on aspects such as vision and hearing. Your current licence must also be clean with no points on it.
Types Of Minibus Driver Related Job Roles
Once you have gained your D1 licence, there are many career paths that you may want to consider, as well as many different existing roles that may benefit from having someone with a minibus licence, some of which include:
- Taxi Driver
- School/College/University Teacher
- Sports Coach
- Airport Transfers
- Public Transport/Shuttle Buses
- Transport For Events
Before taking your practical test, a theory test will need to be passed to prove that you know the basics to be a safe driver and understand all rules and regulations that come alongside minibus driving. You will be asked 50 questions and need to answer 43 to pass the test correctly. Similarly to a car theory test, the DVSA have both online and paperback theory test training resources.
Many different course types are available depending on how quickly you plan to pass your minibus driving test. Training is usually done within a couple of days with a test at the end. If you have no experience driving a larger vehicle and have only driven a car in the past, you will most likely need to do your training for around three days. It will give you plenty of time to both learn and practice anything you struggle with, in time for your test. On the other hand, if you do have experience driving larger vehicle but are yet to drive a minibus you could be trained and passed within a day. These types of courses will be more about preparing you for the test and teaching you what your examiner will be looking out for.
How To Be A Safe Driver
It is likely that when driving a minibus, you will have to carry extra weight such as luggage which means that it is essential that you make yourself aware of the vehicles maximum load in the handbook. Before allowing passengers to board the minibus or leave, as a driver, it is your responsibility to make sure that you are parked stationary in a safe place away from any traffic. Minibuses are considerably higher and wider than a car, so passengers can easily be hidden away from other drivers. You will be insured to drive your specific minibus, which means that if there are too many passengers, you will have to take more than one trip or arrange additional transport. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that only one passenger is sitting in each seat and they have a fully functioning seatbelt, never try to fit in more passengers than what you can hold.
While driving, it is recommended to keep a more significant gap between you and other drivers as additional weight on a vehicle can make stopping distances increase. Keep all distractions to a low meaning no use of mobile phones and if a satnav is used, make sure it is entirely set up before setting off. Carrying a group of passengers may mean that there will be a lot of noise and distractions if passengers start to show signs of bad behaviour, the issue needs to be solved immediately.
Benefits Of The Role
The main benefit of D1 training is that it profoundly improves your confidence as a driver; if you can both safely drive a larger vehicle and get your passengers from A to B with no issues between then it proves that you have a great skill set. It will make you more aware of your surroundings and make it second nature to check all mirrors and blind spots regularly.
Having an additional vehicle on your driving licence will always put you at a considerable advantage. For example, if you are a school teacher, you will also be able to join school trips and attend special events with students without having to rely on public transport. It can be a great back up in the future if you run into an issue where you are unemployed, and companies will always need drivers.
Training to gain your minibus driver licence can be done in as little as one day and open you up to many different opportunities in the future. Many of the rules and regulations that come alongside driving a minibus are very similar to those that you would already be aware of as a driver.