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Buses And Coaches (Drivers)

Volume 86: debated on Thursday 14 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he takes to satisfy himself as to the standards of competence of those driving coaches for charitable organisations; if he has any plans to introduce legislation requiring all such drivers to hold a PSV driver's licence; and if he will make a statement.

Passing the ordinary L-test, which drivers usually take in a car, cannot be regarded as a sufficient qualification for driving large coaches and buses just because the vehicles are being used non-commercially. The Government's intention is to introduce legislation, when an opportunity occurs, to require all drivers of large vehicles carrying passengers to be appropriately licensed. New drivers would have to pass what is now the public service vehicle driving test; but those with substantial recent experience of driving such vehicles would be given the opportunity to apply for the licence before the new requirement came into force.

asked the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce legislation to require all drivers of buses and coaches with more than 12 seats to hold a PSV driver's licence.

In accordance with current legislation and international conventions, vehicles adapted to carry more than eight passenges are regarded as buses; and those which are adapted to carry up to 16 passengers are treated in the United Kingdom as minibuses. Of about 130,000 buses in use, about half are minibuses. The vast majority of large buses are public service vehicles, whose drivers hold a PSV driver's licence. Only 6 per cent. of minibuses are of this kind; most of the remainder are operated non-commercially for social purposes or by individuals.A recent study by the Transport and Road Research laboratory, "The Use of Minibuses in Great Britain" by D. A. Walmsley, found that minibuses had no more accidents than cars, and many fewer than large buses. I am considering, in the light of these findings and other factors, what needs to be said about the qualifications of minibus drivers when we come to propose changes in the legislation governing the PSV driver's licence.