A guide to self drive minibus hire


When all you need is one big vehicle to move everyone and the kitchen sink, only a minibus will do. Gatwick Car & Van Rental offer a choice of three minibus types, from 9 seater minibuses that almost anyone can drive to 17 seater minibuses that are ideal for transporting big groups all at once. Before you jump into the driver’s seat, here is a guide to self-drive minibus hire.



Age and Passenger Restrictions

To drive a minibus legally in the UK you must be over 21 years of age and have held your driving licence for over 2 years. Furthermore, the minibus cannot be over 3.5 tonnes or 4.25 tonnes including specialist disabled passenger equipment such as wheelchair lifts and ramps.


Unfortunately, if you acquired your driving licence after 1st January 1997, you will need to apply for a separate, provisional minibus licence. After you receive this you will need to complete training and a test similar to the standard driving licence. You can, however, drive a vehicle with 8 passenger seats, which Gatwick Car & Van can happily provide.


Driving while failing to meet any of the above requirements will mean that you are doing so illegally.



Minibus Usage

If you need to charge the occupants of the vehicle for its use – for example, it is being driven as part of a club, sports team or member’s organisation – you can apply for a minibus permit. You can apply as long as:

  • The vehicle carries 9-16 passengers
  • You are driving for an organisation that benefits the community, such as  educational, sports or religious organisations
  • The minibus is only carrying members of this organisation and not members of the public
  • Passenger fares are used to cover hire and running costs and are not for profit


The minibus permit is ideal for minibus hire on a regular or semi-regular basis. To reiterate, if you are a member of the public and you hire a minibus, it cannot be used for commercial purposes. It must be for personal use, or as part of an organisation.


Driving Tips

Driving a minibus is different from a car in a few fundamental ways and this should be reflected in your driving style. Also, be aware of the different laws that pertain to minibus driving. Here are a few pointers:


  • Stay in the left-hand lane: when using a dual carriageway or motorway, stick to the left-hand lane as much as possible as this is the safest lane for a slower vehicle.
  • Keep your distance: the stopping distance of a large and heavy vehicle is far greater than that of a normal car; this being the case, keep your distance from the vehicle in front, especially while on the motorway.
  • Display the correct signage: if you are using the minibus to transport school children, it is obligatory to display the yellow reflective sign that depicts two children in order to sufficiently warn other drivers of the occupants’ approximate ages.


Gatwick Car & Van Rental offer premier car, van, MPV and minibus hire in the area of the Gatwick Airport terminal. With fantastic deals and offers available to all our customers, including free pick up and drop-offs at the terminal, we are the number one choice for vehicle hire by national and international travellers. Choose from our fleet of 300+ vehicles, all of which are no more than 4 years old, and get the finest in comfort, technology and reliability guaranteed. Contact our friendly team today – we’re always happy to help.