The weight of the minibus you are about to buy or are already driving, matters for two reasons; the main one being it the weight of the vehicle dictates the kind of licence you need to drive it.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you understand what weight will overload your vehicle.

 What weight minibus can be driven on a car licence?

Under a Section 19 Permit (that allows charities and non-profit organisations to operate without a PSV Operator’s licence) drivers with a standard car licence can drive a 9-16 passenger minibus with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) or Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of 3500kg or less. Other conditions apply.

There is an additional weight allowance for specialist equipment for disabled passengers. This equipment must be a permanent fixture on the vehicle. The additional weight can only be attributed to specialist equipment, not anything else.

If you have a full D1 licence or inherited D1 entitlement on your licence (because it was issued before 1st Jan 1997) you can drive a 9-16 seat minibus with a GVW of over 3500kg.

Read more information, GOV.UK. Section 19 Permit Obligations

What do different minibus weights mean – and where to find them

MAM = the maximum authorised mass of the vehicle, also known as GVW gross vehicle weight (GVW) that can be carried safely on the road

UW = unladen weight of your vehicle – with no passengers or luggage. Also known as Kerb weight (kerb weight includes a full tank of fuel).

PAYLOAD = the weight of your driver, passengers, and their luggage

MAM minus the PAYLOAD = UN

The dangers of overloading your minibus

If you overload your minibus, you’ll find it more difficult to handle on the road and your stopping distances will increase. It will cost more to run because of increased fuel consumption and the tyres may overheat. All these factors mean you will greatly increase the likelihood of an accident and your insurance may be invalid if you were over your GVW or MAM at the time of the incident.

If you know the unladen or kerb weight of your vehicle and the GVW you can work out the maximum payload (people, equipment and luggage) that you can add to the minibus. It’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily have to fill your minibus to reach the GVW.

For more information visit Community Transport Association. Operational minibuses and overloading

Finding the MAM of your minibus

You can look at the spec of your vehicle to find the GVW, or you can look on the vehicle itself. Every vehicle has a chassis plate or VIN plate which is usually in the door frame, under the bonnet or in a front footwell and looks like the title image. The MAM is always the second largest weight, in this case, 4100 kg.

Please remember your GVW is especially important when driving on a Standard B car licence

If you have concerns about the weight of the vehicle you are driving please contact Castle Minibus for guidance or contact the DVSA who can also advise on 0300 123 9000 or email technicalofficers@dvsa.gov.uk