If you want to a drive a bus, coach, or minibus for hire or reward in the United Kingdom that has nine or more passenger seats then you will need to apply for your PSV licence (Public Service Vehicle) from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This licence is also known as a PCV (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) licence and also ‘Cat D’ or ‘D1’ but they all entitle you to the same thing.
How do I apply for my PSV Licence?
Your first step to getting your PSV/PCV licence is to apply for your provisional licence by sending off application form D2 (see example) and the D4 medical form which you can get from your local Post Office, a Traffic Area Office, a Vehicle Registration Office (VRO), or online. You will need a doctor to fill in the medical report form to ensure you meet the DVLA Group 2 medical standards. Send these completed forms off to the DVLA with your current driving licence and the appropriate fees and if everything is correct your will have your Category D provisional licence allowing you to start training and to take the theory and practical tests.
The PSV licence is broken down into 4 modules and you can read about these in depth on this page.
Module 1 is the theory test which is conducted by the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) and is made up of 2 parts:
- Multiple Choice Test (100 questions) featuring a variety of questions about the Highway Code, the carriage of passengers, safety, driving law, etc.
- Hazard Perception Test (19 interactive clips)
To help you pass you can buy books and DVDs from the DSA which get you up to the standard required. When you pass the theory test, you will be given a certificate which is valid for two years and in these two years you must pass your practical driving test.
Module 2 is the computer-based Case Study Test which tests your knowledge and understanding by examining how you put your skills into practice.
Once you’ve fulfilled these requirements you can move onto actually learning to drive a minibus, bus or coach. These lessons can be booked through various training centres and will usually be bundled in with the practical driving test taking around 5 days to complete (Module 3). Tests last around 90 minutes, with the examiner giving directions for a route with a range of typical road and traffic conditions.
To achieve the professional Driver CPC initial qualification, you will also be required to complete a Driver CPC Module 4 Practical Demonstration Test which focuses on safety and security to ensure you have the knowledge a professional driver will need.
Once you have successfully completed Driver CPC Modules 1, 2, 3 and 4 you will be able to drive professionally and will be sent a Driver Qualification Card.
PSV Licence Requirements
If you want to get your Cat D provisional licence and start training for your Public Service Vehicle (PSV/PCV) licence then you will need to fulfil a few requirements to be eligible:
- You must be over 21 years of age.
- You must have a full Category B driving licence and held it for more than 2 years.
- You must meet the DVLA Group 2 medical standards (D4 Form).
These enable you to get your provisional licence and take your theory and practical tests.
How much does the PSV Licence cost?
You will firstly need to get your provisional (Cat D) PSV/PCV licence which is free but for this you will need to have passed your Group 4 medical which will cost around £80. You will then need to pass your Module 1 theory test (£50), Module 2 Case Study (£30), and then the bulk of the costs are for your actual training with a 16 hour block costing around £800 along with the test fee of £115 (Module 3). Finally the Practical Demonstration Test (CPC Module 4) costs £55.
It may sound like a lot and you will probably need to set aside around £1000 to get trained and get your PSV/PCV licence. Some transport companies will offer to pay part or all of this fee on the understanding you will work for them for a certain period afterwards so don’t be put off by the immediate costs as you may have to pay nothing to start your new career.
How long does the PSV Licence last?
Your PSV licence will last indefinitely, just like your car driving licence, but the CPC qualification (Module 4) which allows you to drive professionally lasts for 5 years only and requires you to undertake 35 hours of periodic CPC training very 5 years. There is no exam at the end of the formal training but your attendance must be registered at an approved training centre. Most training takes place over 7 hours and it’s advised to complete 1 days training (7 hours) every year to spread out the cost. Once completed your Driver Qualification Card (DQC) will be renewed and you must carry this at all times when working.