Operator Licencing
Training - MiDAS
What is a section 19 permit and do I need one?

There are two forms of section 19 permits, Standard and Large Bus.

Section 19 permits are issued for use in Great Britain, these permits cannot be used to provide transport to members of the general public and organisations must ensure that they are only carrying passengers that their organisation is set up to benefit.  If your organisation is operating transport then ‘Hire or Reward’ probably exists and you will need to obtain a section 19 permit.

Section 19 Standard permits

A standard permit allows an organisations to operate a vehicle such as an MPV or a minibus – a vehicle with up to 16 passenger seats. 

Section 19 Large Bus permits

A large bus permit allows an organisation to operate a vehicle with more than 16 passenger seats.

Where can we obtain a section 19 permit?

Application forms for section 19 and 22 permits can be obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, you can contact them by telephone on 0300 123 9000.

How much do they cost?

Section 19 standard permits cost £11.00 and can be obtained from your local authority.

What is a section 22 permit and do I need one?

A community bus permit is issued for use in Great Britain and does allow organisations to provide transport for members of the general public by way of a local registered bus route.  The local registered bus route has to be registered with the Traffic Commissioners.  The operator can request the Traffic Commissioner to allow them to also operate ‘other services’, this will allow them to offer services, such as private hire, to enable them to subsidise their local registered service if it is operating at a loss.

Where can we obtain a section 22 permit?

Application forms for section 22 permits can be obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, you can contact them by telephone on 0300 123 9000.

What do permits look like and how long do they last?

All permits are in two parts.

  • The A4 paper permit, which should be stored safely in the office
  • The disc, which must be displayed in the windscreen of the vehicle

For your minibus operation to be legal you must have both parts and the disc must remain readable.  If either part is missing, or if the writing on the disc fades the permit issuer should be informed and replacements obtained.  You must not overwrite any of the information on a permit disc and you must not display photocopied discs.

The old section 19 small bus permits issued prior to April 2009 did not have an expiry date. Under the Local Transport Act 2008, all these permits expired on 6 April 2014 and should have been replaced.

Section 19 standard permits issued from April 2009 are valid for up to five years and must be renewed before the expiry date shown.

Who can drive our minibus using section 19 and 22 permits?

Category D1 101 entitlement

Minibus drivers who passed their car driving test before 1st January 1997 will normally have a D1 with a 101 code – minibus, not for hire or reward – entitlement on their licence.  This will remain on the licence until it expires when the driver reaches 70 years old or unless removed by DVLA, usually for medical reasons.  Even though the licence code stands for ‘not for hire or reward’ these licence holders can drive a minibus operated under a section 19 or 22 permit without additional conditions.

Drivers who hold a category D1 101 on their driving licence can drive a minibus of any weight, provide their services as a volunteer or be paid directly to drive it.

Category B entitlement

Drivers who passed their driving test from 1 January 1997 were not granted the D1 101 entitlement on their licence and they will only have a B entitlement. If a driver with only a category B entitlement can comply with all of the following conditions they may drive, on behalf of a non-commercial body for social purposes but not for hire or reward, if they:

  • are the holder of a full licence authorising the driving of vehicles in category B;
  • have held that licence for an aggregate period of not less than 2 years;
  • are aged 21 or over, but under 70 (unless the driver has passed a PCV medical and has gained the restriction code 79 (NFHR);
  • receive no payment or consideration for so doing, other than out-of-pocket expenses;

may drive a vehicle included in sub-category D1 which has no trailer attached and has a maximum authorised mass-

  • not exceeding 3.5 tonnes, excluding any part of that weight which is attributable to specialised equipment intended for the carriage of disabled passengers, and
  • not exceeding 4.25 tonnes otherwise.

The two conditions that cause most problems are the vehicle weight restriction and not being able to pay drivers.  The fourth bullet point above is normally interpreted as meaning that the driver is a volunteer.  However, there is a legal opinion that where an employee does not have driving as part of their job description and they receive no more pay as a result of their driving duties; they could be considered to be meeting the condition set out above.  This opinion has not been tested in a court but has been accepted within the voluntary sector.

The additional 750kg weight attributed to ‘specialised equipment’ is the maximum allowance permitted to directly offset the additional weight of any ‘specialised equipment’ which is intended for the carriage of disabled passengers, therefore, any allowance claimed over the 3.5 tonnes limit must be attributed to this equipment.  The website provides an example of ‘specialised equipment’ as being a ramp however, operators and drivers must ensure that any ‘specialised equipment’ stays on the minibus for this concession to apply, if there is no ‘specialist equipment’ on the minibus then the Maximum Authorised Mass cannot exceed 3.5 tonnes.

Maximum Authorised Mass

Both operators and drivers need to take care with the maximum authorised mass of any vehicle they are operating or driving.  The Maximum Authorised Mass, or Gross Vehicle Weight as it is also known, is the maximum carrying capacity of the vehicle; this is the vehicle when it is full of diesel along with all the passengers and driver.  It may be possible to overload a vehicle where heavy wheelchairs are carried or where the payload is small.  

Can our 70 year old driver still drive our minibus?

In Great Britain when drivers reach 70 years old they will only be able to continue to drive a minibus operated under a section 19 or 22 permit if they pass a medical to PCV standards.  Drivers will have to complete the D2 form (Application for Lorry, Bus or Minibus driving licence) and also get their doctor to complete a D4 (Medical Examination Report) There is no longer a recommended fee that doctors can charge for completing the medical form so it is wise to check when making an appointment. Both the D2 and D4 then have to be sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to enable them to renew the driving licence.  Certain health conditions will mean that an application has to be approved by a medical panel and in certain circumstances a licence will not be issued which enables the driver to drive minibuses.  There is no renewal fee to DVLA at this point; however, if the driver seeks to regain D1 after it has been lost, the DVLA will charge a fee of £6.00.

The above process will have to be repeated every 3 years in order for a driver to continue driving minibuses under Permits.  Retention of a D1 is indicated by a restriction code of 79 (NFHR) as shown below.

Do we need to carry out Driver Licence Checks?

It is important in all cases that a driver’s licence is checked by a knowledgeable person at least every six months to ensure they still comply with the legal, insurance and organisational requirements.  It is important that all drivers understand that they are required to inform the operator if anything changes such as any medical conditions or they get points or are disqualified from driving.

Operators should be aware that driving licence counterparts are no longer issued and that they were abolished.  In order to correctly check a drivers driving entitlement they need to ask the driver for a ‘check code’ which the driver can request using the link below, once the driver has provided the operator with this ‘check code’ operators can then use the service provided on the website to see the DVLA records for that driver.

Drivers can go online, using the service provided on the website to check the details that the Driver and Vehicle Licence Agency holds on them.  They can also use this link to obtain a ‘check code’ that they can give to their employer or organisation they are volunteering for, this ‘check code’ gives the operator permission to check the drivers driving entitlements.

Do our drivers need to do a daily vehicle check?

These are very important.  There are a range of items that can be easily checked on a regular basis and this will ensure that potentially costly faults are picked up at an early stage, before serious damage occurs.  A responsible person must undertake a daily walk around check before a vehicle is used.

Drivers must be aware that they are legally responsible for the vehicle whilst they are driving it and it is in their best interest to complete the vehicle check before they drive it rather than rely on another person.  It is best practice that operators should provide training for their drivers to show them what checks are required and how items should be checked.  These checks are best carried out using a form which itemises things that need to be checked with a ‘tick box’ that the person undertaking the check can tick to indicate that they have checked each item.  The form should also have a space for a signature and the date to be used by the person carrying out the checks (remember, you will need two people to check the brake lights).  This paperwork can then be kept as an accurate record of preventative maintenance carried out on the vehicle.

Do we need to report vehicle defects?

Yes, even with regular servicing and a rigorous checking system, other faults or defects will still occur from time to time.  In order to ensure that these are rectified as soon as possible a formal defect reporting system should be established.  Every driver should have access to a vehicle defect report form or defect book (many organisations use the reverse side of the drivers log sheet).

When a fault or defect is identified, the form should be filled in, signed and dated.  It should then be returned to the Fleet Manager, co-ordinator or other responsible person for action.  There should be a clear process by which drivers, who have identified a defect, know whether it makes the vehicle un-roadworthy, such as a non-working horn.

Defect report forms should be monitored on a regular basis (at least weekly), to ensure when faults are reported they have been actioned promptly.

Any report form where a defect has been noted must be kept, along with remedial action taken, the defect should be signed off by the person listing the defect and kept for at least 15 months.

What are safety inspections?

A nominated person should be responsible for ensuring that a full schedule of inspections takes place on all passenger vehicles that you operate.  The operator of a vehicle has a legal duty of care to ensure that vehicles they operate are safe and do not pose a danger to anyone.

Safety inspections are similar to an MOT and check the road safety items of the vehicle, they should be carried out by a competent person who is able to sign the inspection document to state that in their professional opinion the vehicle will remain safe and legal until the next scheduled safety inspection.

A person undertaking safety inspections must be technically competent and operationally aware of the safety standards that apply to the vehicles they examine.  They should have been trained in the techniques of vehicle examination, diagnosis and reporting, and possess a sound working knowledge of the relevant inspection manuals produced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.  A Safety inspector could prove technical competence by solely time served experience; however with modern vehicle systems and working practices it is strongly recommended that inspectors obtain relevant technical qualifications and achieve an automotive technical accreditation or meet a recognised quality standard for the vehicles they inspect.

A safety inspector should not be expected to carry out repair or servicing work during the course of the safety check.

Safety inspections should be carried out with a maximum interval between inspections of 10 weeks.  Vehicles that are 12 years old or older should be being safety inspected every 6 weeks.

Do we need to check our passenger lifts?

Passenger lifts are required by law to be inspected least every six months and it is recommended that they are load-tested annually by a competent person.  The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) cover the use of all lifts.

Following an inspection, a report must be given to an appropriate person in your organisation to ensure that the relevant action can be taken to repair any faults or defects.  These inspection reports must be kept for a minimum of two years.

What is MiDAS?

MiDAS is the Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme, organised by the Community Transport Association U.K. (CTA) which promotes a nationally recognised standard for the assessment and training of minibus drivers. It is a membership based scheme that has been designed to enhance minibus driving standards and promote the safer operation of minibuses. The scheme is owned by Hampshire County Council and they run they own MiDAS scheme within the county of Hampshire. If you are looking for MiDAS training contact us and we will quote and arrange accordingly.

Who is MiDAS aimed at?

MiDAS is applicable to any organisation operating or using minibuses. Member organisations range from small voluntary organisations operating one vehicle, to local authorities operating large fleets of minibuses as well as schools, colleges and universities.

Is MiDAS a legal entitlement?

Completing a MiDAS assessment does not give a driver an additional legal entitlement on their driving license. MiDAS is a good practise scheme which allows drivers who already have the legal requirement on their driving license an opportunity to be assessed to drive a minibus to a national standard.