Minibus and Community Bus Permits (Section 19 permits) are issued to organisations concerned with education, social welfare or other activities of benefit to the community. They allow certain organisations, including schools, to make a charge without having to comply with the full public service vehicle operator requirements and without the need for the driver to have a PCV (Category D1 or D) entitlement.
Certain organisations can apply for a Minibus Permit, (Section 19 -Transport Act 1985) for vehicles that can carry between nine and sixteen passengers. The Permit allows organistations like volunteer groups concerned with education, religion, social welfare, recreations and other activities that are beneficial to the community to make a charge without having to comply with the full passenger carrying vehicle entitlement (PCV) operator licensing requirements and without the need for their drivers to have PCV entitlement.
Many community transport organisations and charities now operate minibuses under a section 19 permit which, allows for the service provided to be for the organisations’ own members or for groups of people whom the organisation serves. Such organisations can charge or accept a form of remuneration for providing transport at a level to recover some or all of the costs of running the vehicle, and may even include an allowance for vehicle depreciation but the service must not be provided to members of the general public and the charges made must be on a non-profit basis. This non-profit requirement extends to cover any direct costs connected with a particular trip such as expenses incurred by volunteers, but not the wages of any staff involved.
A driver of a Section 19 permit minibus can either be paid or an unpaid volunteer.
It should be noted however, that volunteer minibus drivers who passed their car driving test after 1st January 1997 are restricted to drive minibuses which weigh no more that 3500kgs gross vehicle weight.
NB. Schools must hold a ‘Section 19 permit’ if minibus journeys are funded to any extent by outside sources such as parents or parent teacher associations. Schools and educational establishments who do not charge their pupils do not normally need a section 19 permit. See driving a school minibus.
Section 19 permits can be obtained from your local Traffic Area Network Office or visit the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency website: www.vosa.gov.uk.
The Section 19 permit arrangements apply only in the UK and you cannot take a permit minibus abroad, if it is used for hire or reward, unless you hold either PCV D1 or D entitlement. When a school minibus is taken abroad, a tachograph must be fitted and used throughout the journey , observing EC drivers’ hours regulations.
Above the tax disk on the windscreen of the minibus should be another disk. If the minibus is being operated under a PCV licence the disk will be either blue or green. A white disk indicates that the minibus is being operated under a section 19 permit.
A Section 22 (Transport Act 1985) permit allows a minibus to be operated by bodies on a local bus service on a voluntary non-profit basis but only using unpaid volunteer drivers. Application needs to be made to the Traffic Commissioner for your area.
Section 19 and Section 22 permits are only applicable to the United Kingdom.
Further information on both the EU and Domestic Drivers’ Hours Rules is published by VOSA in (PSV 375) obtainable as above.
A vehicle which is being used on a Section 19 permit is still a public service vehicle and is subject to domestic drivers’ hours rules when a person is driving in the course of his/her employment. Therefore if payment to the driver has taken place (unless it is out of pocket expenses) then domestic drivers’ hours rules apply.
Domestic drivers’ hours rules do not apply for the private use of a minibus or when permit vehicles are driven by volunteer (i.e. unpaid) drivers.
Obviously if a vehicle is being used as a PSV on a Regular Service (local/ non local) then the relevant domestic drivers’ hours rules apply (or in the case of a route exceeding 50 km, EU Hours’ Rules).
For PSV non-regular services when a minibus is being used for a non-regular national service, then domestic rules apply. For international services then the EU rules apply.
If a minibus is being used for international journeys (including private use) then EU drivers’ hours rules apply.
This Guide is only intended for general help; it is not a legal document. Therefore you should seek your own legal advice if you have any doubts with these issues.