5 critical steps to successfully passing your Minibus PCV test!

Understanding the steps to successfully passing your Minibus PCV test can be quite confusing.  What parts are relevant for you?  How do you get your Driver’s CPC?  Do you even need to?  Let us help…

The 5 Steps

Now, to be fair, the Minibus PCV test is not exactly related to designing your website but we recently went through the process to get our Minibus PCV test and it’s just so hard to get to grips with all the steps, which ones apply to you and then the process.  So we thought we would write about it and see if we can help others!  The Minibus PCV test is the key to obtaining a D1 endorsement on your licence but the Minibus PCV test can also remove the (101) restriction from your licence so you can charge for transit.  They critical steps are:

 

  1. Understand the route you should take
  2. The tests you need to pass
  3. How to get lessons
  4. What happens in the tests
  5. What happens after the tests

In this article we are totally focused on gaining the D1 category.  This is category that lets you drive a minibus, a vehicle with up to 16 passenger seats and no more.  So that’s seats, not passengers.  You can’t drive an 18 seat vehicle with only 16 people in it.  It cannot have more than 16 passenger seats…yes that includes the one next to you as the driver if there is one…because a passenger can sit in that too.

The first important thing is when did you get your licence to drive a car because that is the essential first step:

Pre-1997, Jan 1

If you got your licence to drive a car before 1st January 1997 it will likely have the D1 (101) endorsement.  This will let you drive a minibus plus trailer of less than 750kg provided you do not do so for profit or reward (which is what the (101) endorsement implies).  Reward need not be a direct payment for travel.  It could be indirect.  For example, say you offer to pick people up and take them to your event, and they have paid for the event.  This is driving for reward because they have indirectly paid you for the transport by paying for the event.

If you’re 70 or over (or soon will be) and are renewing your driving licence, you need to order a D2 application form and download a D4 medical examination report – this must be filled in by a doctor – to ensure you are still fit to drive.

If you want to drive for profit or reward you will need to get the (101) endorsement removed.  The steps you will follow to make this happen are:

  1. Pass the required medical by completing a D2 application form and a D4 medical examination report.  This must be filled in by a doctor and, if required, an optician and they will charge you for this (see later).  These forms are then sent to the DVLA who will assess your application and issue a provisional licence.  The medical is valid for 4 months and you must pass your minibus tests within this period or you will be required to renew your medical forms.
  2. Once received at the DVLA they will issue your provisional licence so that you can progress to step 3.
  3. You will sit all of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) tests, of which there are four (the first test consists of two parts).  
  4. You will be issued with a full D1 licence with the (101) endorsement removed
Post-1997, Jan 1

There are two possible options but in both cases you need to apply for D1 to be added to your licence.

Option 1

If the minibus is not for ‘hire or reward’ you might be able to drive a minibus with up to 16 passenger seats using your current car driving licence as long as there’s no payment from or on behalf of the passengers (it’s not for ‘hire or reward’).

You must meet these conditions:

  • you’re 21 or older
  • you’ve had your driving licence for at least 2 years
  • you meet the ‘Group 2’ medical standards if you’re over 70 – check with your GP if you’re not sure you meet the standards
  • you’re driving on a voluntary basis and the minibus is used for social purposes by a non-commercial body
  • the maximum weight of the minibus is not more than 3.5 tonnes – or 4.25 tonnes including specialist equipment for disabled passengers, for example a wheelchair ramp
  • you’re not towing a trailer

 

Option 2

If you do not meet these criteria you need to sit the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence, often referred to as the CPC test, of which there are four components (the first test has two parts).  Which ones you have to sit are detailed in the next section but it boils down to:

Not for profit or reward:  Part 1 (Theory) and Part 3 (Practical) for minibuses (no need for the medical D4 form and assessment).
For profit or reward:  All four parts of the test. You wil also need to pass the required medical by completing a D2 application form and a D4 medical examination report.  This must be filled in by a doctor and, if required, an optician and they will charge you for this (see later).  These forms are then sent to the DVLA who will assess your application and issue a provisional licence.  The medical is valid for 4 months and you must pass your minibus tests within this period or you will be required to renew your medical forms.

From gov.uk

The aim here is to gain your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).  This will allow the D1 (101) (drive a minibus for no profit or reward) or D1 (drive for reward) to be added to your licence.  There are occasions when you are exempt from the CPC requirements and you can read about them here.

The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) is required if:

In A and B you will need to:

  • Pass the medical required for CPC by completing a D2 application form and a D4 medical examination report – this must be filled in by a doctor and, if required, an optician.  These forms are then sent to the DVLA who will assess your application and issue a provisional licence.  The medical is valid for 4 months and you must pass your test within this period or you will be required to renew your medical forms.There is usually a charge for the medical by your provider which will vary depending on who you go to (see Step 3) but there is no cost to obtain your provisional upgraded licence.
  • Then sit all four parts of the CPC tests (see step 4)

In C:

  • you do not require the medical assessment and you only need to sit CPC Part 1 and CPC Part 3

There are two main routes to getting your tests done.  They are, not surprisingly:

  1. Do it yourself or
  2. Pay for a package from a professional firm to get you through it

Both of these are valid but the second, whilst potentially more expensive, certainly takes the stress and strain off of you from knowing you are doing everything correctly.

Adding D1 (101)

If your aim is just to add the “not for profit” endorsement to your licence then it is easy enough to do it yourself.  You can simply:

  • Send off the D2 form to request the provisional D1(101) endorsement to your licence
    Note that when you do this you also send your licence away to the DVLA so make sure you do not need it for any other purpose before they return your new licence e.g. you are not going to hire a car in the UK or abroad or you don’t need it for ID for any other purpose like sitting an exam or taking out a loan!
  • Log on to the gov.uk website to register yourself for the CPC Part 1 theory test and then, once you have passed,
  • Log on to the gov.uk website to register for your CPC Part 3 driving test

Adding D1

  • Similar process to above but just ensure you complete the D4 medical forms before you book any tests and also book the CPC 2 and 4 modules or
  • Approach a professional firm in your area to get you through it.  In Scotland there aren’t many firms so there are limited options but a google search for “D1 licence trainers” should uncover someone in your area.

Costs

These can vary widely but as a rough guide:

  • D2 form and provisional licence upgrade:  FREE
  • D4 Medical:  £80 to £150 on the NHS; up to £250 private or as part of the fees with a training provider
  • Driver CPC part 1 –  theory – (multiple-choice) £26  
    Driver CPC part 1 – theory – (hazard perception) £11  
    Driver CPC part 2 –  case studies £23  
    Driver CPC part 3 –  driving ability £115  
    Driver CPC part 4 –  practical demonstration £55  

 

Each of the tests consists of the following:

The D4 Medical

D4 medical examination report is a series of tests to ensure your eyesight meets legal requirements for driving.  It ensures that your mental health is up to standard.  It checks that your heart is strong and that you do not suffer from any disqualifying conditions.  It takes around 30 minutes to an hour.

CPC Part 1: 
Theory

Click to learn more
This is specifically for passenger carrying vehicles (PCV).  Having your car theory test does not count for the CPC. This test has two components.  Multiple choice questions and hazard perception tests.  You can find examples of the multiple choice tests here and the hazard perception test here

CPC Part 2:
Case Studies 

Click to learn more
Check out the learning zone for more information.  In this test you will be expected to answer questions based on specific scenarios.

CPC Part 3: 
Driving Ability

Click to learn more
This is the driving test done in the minibus.  Read more about it here.

CPC Part 4:
Practical Demonstration 

Click to learn more
This is an opportunity to show the driving test instructor that you understand the operation and safety of your minibus.

Congratulations!  You have passed all the parts!  So what now?

  1. You will be sent your Driver CPC card which you must carry with you when driving a minibus
  2. Every five years after passing you must

    If you’re 65 or over you must renew your lorry or bus driving licence every year.

Well that was easy wasn’t it!

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