In recent months, it has become clear to the Department that interpretation of existing legislation regarding minibus driving licence requirements was causing some confusion to minibus operators.
To address this, the Department is updating its interpretation of the current legislation. This will be reflected in draft guidance for consideration by an incoming Minister before coming into effect.
The guidance is intended to assist operators and drivers in understanding their obligations in relation to minibus driving. The Department is currently engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that the interpretation of the legislation and the requirements that it will place on drivers are clearly understood.
Subject to Ministerial approval, the Department aims to consult formally on the guidance with a view to it coming into effect from 1 January 2018. The guidance is likely to confirm that paid drivers will no longer be able to drive a minibus on their D1(not for hire or reward) driving licence and that some volunteer drivers, undertaking commercial passenger transport activities, may also require a full D or D1 driving licence.
Given recent concerns as to the impact of these changes on a number of sectors, the Department can confirm that the draft guidance will only come into effect on approval by an incoming Minister. Therefore, at present, those who drive a minibus for an organisation under the small bus permit scheme do not need a full D1 entitlement.
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