Using Union Vehicles - Minibuses

The Union owns 2 minibuses that are available for student group use for events, trips and fixtures. Vehicles will only be available to be driven once you have been confirmed as having been placed on the Union insurance, have completed the minibus assessment, and approval has been given for the activity. For any event, trip or fixture that is not organised by the Student Activities staff you will need to follow the procedures for events or trips as appropriate.

Minibus Booking Form

In order to book a Students' Union minibus, please, download this form and ones completed, e-mail to activities@gre.ac.uk.

The Minibus Assessment

All drivers are required to undergo a minibus assessment prior to being allowed to drive the minibus for any activity. These are administered by the Union and are booked by contacting activities@gre.ac.uk with details of when you are free during the week to take the assessment. You will then be contacted by member of Union staff to confirm when your assessment is.

The assessment will give you a chance to learn all the procedures around driving for the Students’ Union as well as your responsibilities and the differences in driving a minibus as opposed to a smaller car. The minibus assessment also includes (as examples):

  • Collecting vehicles
  • Safe loading
  • Health & Safety
  • In case of emergency
  • Dart Charge and other Tolls
  • Post trip procedure
  • Reporting damages/crashes
  • Log sheets
  • Long distance driving
  • Speed limits/limiter

Minibus Permits

When driving a minibus for a club or society, you need to display a Section 19 Standard Permit in the vehicle. Permits are displayed on the windscreen of the vehicle and must not be removed or tampered with. We are allowed these permits because the Students’ Union is a not-for-profit organisation, and this is what allows you to drive a vehicle larger and heavier than is usually allowed on a normal driving licence.

Under the rules of a Section 19 Standard Permit, you cannot be paid or rewarded for driving, you cannot drive with a roof rack or trailer, and if you do not have category D1 on your licence then the maximum vehicle weight allowed is 3.5tonnes (or 3500kgs).

Driving Safely and Minibus Weights

Although this will be covered in your proficiency test, please remember that minibuses are larger and heavier than a standard car. You will find that they:

  • Require a bigger turning circle;
  • Are slower at accelerating and take longer to brake;
  • Have reduced visibility when full with passengers; 
  • Have different speed limits on motorways/dual carriageways; and
  • Are heavier to drive and manoeuvre, even with power steering.

 

Please also ensure that you also bear in mind how much equipment you carry. The Students’ Union minibuses which will be available for use for those without D1 permissions on their license have a maximum gross weight of 3500kgs (3.5tonnes), which cannot, by law, be exceeded. Each of these minibuses has a weight of about 2594kgs which leaves about 906kgs remaining for passengers and luggage. It is the responsibility of the Driver to ensure this weight is not exceeded. The weight limit left works out as 12 people weighing an average of 75.5kgs (11st10lbs).

If you think you will be close to this limit, please contact activities@gre.ac.uk and we will try and help with a solution. Do not assume you will be ok- overloading the minibus is a law and could cause a serious accident and is illegal to drive if over the legal weight limit. The driver of an overloaded vehicle could be fined, prosecuted or have their license revoked. Do not risk it.

Q1: Am I aged over 21, and have I held my licence for over 2 years?
Yes! Go onto Question 2
No - You are not eligible to drive a minibus as drivers must be aged 21 or over and have held their license for over 21 years
Q2: Do I have category D1 Permissions on the back of my plastic license?
Yes - I have category D1 permissions because I passed my test before 1st January 1997

Once you have been confirmed as covered by the union vehicle insurance you can drive a minibus that has up to 16 passenger seats, but may not do so for 'hire or reward' (i.e. you cannot be paid to do so) and may not tow a trailer

Yes - I have category D1 permissions because I passed my Passenger Carrying Vehicle Driving Test

Once you have been confirmed as covered by the union vehicle insurance you can drive a minibus that has up to 16 passenger seats and tow a trailer weighing up to 750kgs, provided evidence of passing this test is passed to the Union and a confirmation is received from our insurers.

No - I do not have category D1 Permissions on my driving license

Once you have been confirmed as covered by the union vehicle insurance you can drive a minibus that weighs up to a total of 3500kgs (3.5 tonnes), usually a 12 seat minibus, but may not do so for “hire or reward” (you cannot be paid to do so) and may not tow a trailer. As weight is a criteria for you being allowed to drive it, you must monitor the weight of luggage and passengers on board as per section 5 of this handbook.