Useful advice on running a minibus

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The following advice applies to the UK specifically but you may find it helpful else where. The UK law is slightly different to EU law.


It is advisable to seek the help of a mechanic to purchase our minibus. There are certain pitfalls to be aware of.

Ensure that the vehicle has a insurance check before purchasing. The AA can provide one and it costs £35 or more but can reveal if the vehicle has been modified, stolen, has outstanding finance on it or has been involved in an insurance right off. This check may pay for itself many times over saving you the embarrassment of a vehicle that is impossible to sell at a later date.

A thorough vehicle check is also advisable as this may reveal flaws that could compromise the safety of the vehicle and passengers. small bus permit big fine if not displayed - up to 1800. You can get it from your local traffic area office.

The vehicle policy for YWAM England details who can drive what vehicle and what policy to follow in training and for insurance on the company policy

YWAM drivers have a good record however that record could be improved immensely - each year there are a large number of vehicle right offs and claims for more that £10,000. Proper training and selection of drivers is important in reducing this accident rate and for the safety of the passengers.

UK law permits a driver on a standard licence to drive a 10 to 16 seat vehicle provided that it is on a voluntary basis. A vehicle with under 10 seats is classed as a normal private light goods vehicle (i.e. a car) and can be driven on any full licence. However European law does not permit a European citizen to drive a vehicle with more than 10 seats - the UK differs in law here.

Also it should be noted that other driving licences from America and elsewhere are not recognised as Valid for 10 - 16 seats. If in doubt discuss with the DVLA. It is possible to change your a foreign licence to a UK one.

For insurance purposes driver must be over 21 to drive a minibus on our company policy. It is suggested that only drivers with a clean licence should be entered onto the list on the first place.

It is suggested that there is a regular review of the performance of the drivers' n your driving list. A feedback from passengers and other drivers on the driving list should be sought.

Reckless driving must be addressed. By removing the driver from the list for retraining. Removing them permanently should be followed if they show no improvement. Asking a local driving instructor to vet a driver ability is suggested as another way to select drivers from the driving list.

A minibus driver needs training and instruction on driving the vehicle. The following areas should be addressed:

  • Minibus law
  • Handing a large and heavy vehicle
  • Parking
  • managing passengers
  • managing luggage
  • basic vehicle maintenance: Fuelling, tyre pressures, oil, water
  • First aid kit and use of fire extinguisher

This may take a long time but the end product should be the safety and comfort of the passengers.

  • Ensure regular servicing for the vehicle (Diesel vehicles require more engine services).
  • Book servicing times in for the vehicle well in advance and make sure all users are aware that the vehicle will be out of service for the period.
  • Oil, water and tyres should be checked weekly and before long journeys
  • Faults should be reported promptly and aced upon swiftly
  • minor accidents must be reported immediately
  • Fire extinguisher should be checked regularly and tested and replaced as appropriate
  • First aid kit
  • fire extinguisher
  • Car and tyre replacement tools
  • small tool kit
  • Always carry spare oil, water, screen wash and brake fluid
  • A spare bulb kit and emergency triangle are useful (essential if travelling abroad)
  • bungie cords, rope and tarpaulins suitable to securing luggage (essential for a roof rack)
  • Rubbish bag!
  • nodding dog
  • Ensure seatbelts are worn if fitted - children under 14 must wear seatbelts. 14-18's can wear them at their own discretion. Is best to have insist on seatbelts for all
  • Ensure isles are clear of luggage. It is illegal to stack luggage in the isle
  • Driver must ensure that the noise levels are tolerable in the vehicle - it can compromise a drivers ability to
  • Drivers must take regular breaks. A break is defined as a minimum of 15 minutes. It is a good idea to follow a pattern of 2 hours driving, break, 2 hours driving, 1 hour break, 2 hours diving, break and then a final 2 hours driving.
  • Length of time driving. Plan your journey so that no one single driver drives for more than 8 or the very most 10 hours in one 24 hours period. If your journey is going to be that long then take relief drivers.
  • Overloading is a serious problem and if stopped by the police could result in a heavy fine or even a prosecution of the driver. The maximum permitted weight for a minibus is 3500Kg. The Unloaded weight should be marked on a plate in the drivers' door. (If in doubt weigh the vehicle at a private weigh bridge operated by your local trading standards office). Allow 80Kg per person and 20Kg for their luggage - note for 15 people in a minibus this is 1500Kg. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR VEHICLE TO BE OVERLOADED

Taking a Minibus Abroad

Travelling to Europe with a minibus can be a very handy indeed. However there are many extra restrictions and requirements to be followed.

  • A minibus registered with more than 9 seats must have a tachograph fitted. This device records on a disc the speed and duration of use of the minibus. IT IS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT A 10-16 SEAT MINIBUS HAS A TACHOGRAPH IS DRIVEN ABROAD
  • Tacho discs must be used for all drivers. European driving hours must be followed. These are available along with instructions for the use of a tachograph from the International Road Freight Office.
  • Each country has specific safety requirements or a vehicle (i.e. Safety triangle -Germany). consult the AA for a list of requirements for the countries you will be travelling through
  • Driving law and country specific laws. It is illegal to be in the outside lane of a German autobahn whilst towing a trailer for example. In Switzerland you are required to buy a toll/sticker to use the motorways. Check with the AA for country specific rules.
  • Observe speed restrictions!
  • UK drivers require a special form to drive a minibus with more than 9 seats abroad. This is because in European law a PSV licence is generally required. The UK has an agreement such that a driver should apply for a form INTP5 (grandfathers agreement). This is available from your local traffic area office. The only requirement is that a driver must have been driving minibuses for over one year.
  • A letter of authorisation on letterhead from someone in leadership detailing the driver names, vehicle reg. and countries to pass through.
  • A copy of this page!
  • A waybill must be filled in. This is a special form filled in duplicate with a copy left in the UK that details you route, drivers etc. It is common to class your journey as a closed-door tour for the purposes of a cultural exchange. For any other purpose that may be more paperwork and it is outside of this document. Way bills cost £4 each or £20 for a book of 10
  • A waybill translation document may be needed for travel outside of the EU. (i.e. Poland,Hungary)
  • The original vehicle documents, MOT and insurance certificate must be take
  • Breakdown cover should be sought - this can be quite expensive
  • Travel insurance can be purchased very affordably from the Frontier missions centre at Holmsted Manor
  • The National administrator can organise an Insurance green card if your journey requires one. Note that r some troubled countries insurance may not be available or purchased on the border.
  • Drivers must bring their complete driving licence!
  • Security device useful
  • Pens, paper and maps are essential. (Remember Europe is a big place - you may want a small-scale map!)

Its not that hard eh?