Category D (Bus)
Having this category on your driving licence means you are entitled to drive any bus which has more than eight passenger seats, along with a trailer that is a maximum weight of 750kg. There is no upper limit to the number of seats in this category so if you want to train for a career as a bus driver or a coach driver, this is the category you need on your licence.
What can I drive with this category?
This category allows you to drive all passenger carrying vehicles which are larger than a minibus or taxi. It does not give you a taxi licence, that is a completely separate process. Category D in a nutshell entitles you to become a bus driver or a coach driver and is generally regarded as a commercial licence which means you also need to get the CPC tests at the same time.
How do I apply for a bus/coach driving licence?
Firstly, there are a number of criteria you need to meet. You need to already hold a full car driving licence and you need to be aged over 24 generally, although there are some exceptions to this rule.
If you meet these criteria the next thing you need to do is apply for a provisional bus driving licence and you need to pass the bus driving test.
Once you have passed the driving test you also need to get the professional driving qualification – the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).
What does the CPC involve?
If you are planning to get a Category D on your licence because you wish to drive this size of vehicle for a living, then you will also need the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This was introduced following EU Directive 2003/59 which requires all professional bus, coach and lorry drivers to hold a CPC as well as their driving licence.
Driver CPC requires all existing category C and D licence holders (including C1 and D1) to take part in 35 hours training every five years in order to maintain their CPC. They do not need to do the new driver training qualifications but need to complete the 35 hours.
But for new drivers, CPC introduced a new initial qualification process that they must complete before they can drive professionally. The new driver CPC applies after passing the basic driving licence, and includes four sections:
- The CPC theory test – this is made of two parts, a multiple choice test containing 100 questions and a hazard perception test made up of 19 videos.
- The CPC case studies – seven case studies which the driver works through on a computer, which takes around two hours to complete.
- The practical tests – driving ability on the road – one and a half hour driving test
- The practical tests – vehicle safety demonstration
The aim is to improve professional driver safety, reduce road casualties and enhance the reputation of those that drive for a living by ensuring high levels of competence from the outset. We can support you with all levels of CPC training.
Once you have passed your bus driver training tests and gained your Driver CPC, you will be entitled to become a full-time bus or coach driver.
Does my bus/coach driving licence category last forever?
No, you have to take 35 hours of CPC training every five years to stay CPC qualified. You also need to renew your bus licence every five years when you reach the age of 45, and you need to renew it every year once you reach the age of 65.
How easy is it to learn to drive a bus?
It can seem daunting with the different license categories, and all the practical and theory tests involved, but please don’t feel daunted as we are here to make sure you achieve your driving dreams. Please do speak to our expert advisors who can give you all the advice and help you need whether you currently hold a car driving license or not, and no matter how inexperienced or experience you are.
We can advise on staging your license which means adding the different categories to it, to suit your driving requirements and we offer all of the training courses you will need to get where you want to go. If you want to become a professional coach driver taking parties on long distance holidays, or a bus driver for your local county bus service, we can help you get there.