Mini bus and section 19 permits?

As a relative newby to the civilian committee I’m looking for some help. Our squadron has a 17 seat minibus which is in excellent condition but we appear to lack qualified drivers as “section 19 permits” are not being renewed by “the wing” or the cadet force overall?

The issue appears to be that those of us who are “oldies” have grandfather rights to drive a 17 seat minibus on a D1 license but our younger counterparts require the section 19 permit to allow them to drive on a not for profit basis.

A couple of thoughts…

Why can’t an individual squadron apply for a section 19 permit?

Why can we not just remove seats to make a 17 seat minibus a 9 seat vehicle with space for ‘kit’? (Accepting we may need to tel the DVLA of a change in class of vehicle)

I would really appreciate your input as all I see is a perfectly functional vehicle that will soon be standing idle and the support we provide our young air cadets, rapidly declining.

Many thanks in advance


Hi Ken, there have been a few discussions on here about Permit 19s. You can look them up with the search function.

Not being experienced with them I don’t know, but do recall a lot of chatter of Permit 19 not being permissible for our use…

I’m pretty sure that in order to drive a minibus on a B licence, using a permit 19, it has to have less seats than yours in any event. (14 plus driver if I recall correctly.)

I can’t see any issue with you using the vehicle if the DVLA re-classify it as a B cat.

Thanks for this, just seems a tad inequitable given what we seek to deliver. I’ll keep searching…

Nothing in Section 19 against 17 seaters, it’s just the weight that matters.

Very interesting point, thank you. I’ll check that out in the morning…,would anyone have a little more detail on weight limits in this instance?

We asked the question about this removing seats is irrelevant apparently as the vehicle will be registered as manufactuered as a minibus with x seats which is what they go by. :roll_eyes::roll_eyes:

3.5 tonnes unless you have Specialist wheelchair equipment fitted in which case it goes upto 4.25 tonnes

Paragraph 7.3 covers the fact that you are allowed a 17 seater bus on a Permit 19.

Corps are still issuing permit 19’s you just complete Accts Form 82 and email it to them direct (details are on the form).{C78F46E9-2A08-4C46-96F6-BD060A095A1F}&file=Accts%20Form%20082.docx&action=default&mobileredirect=true

No need to get it registered as such, a Permit 19 covers any vehicle with upto 16 Passenger seats (excluding the driver).

My confusion may stem from the fact that it was proving difficult to find 17 seat buses under the weight limit.

It is - the majority are over 3500kg MAM.

The solution is either go for a 15 seat sub 3500kg model or do D1…

Or get a Minibus lite or have a wheelchair ramp fitted.

But either way it’s wrong to say that you can’t drive a 17 seater (or more correctly a 16 seater) on a Permit 19.

We looked into a minibus lite and found they were completely useless, unless your passengers were all under 6 years old and very thin. There capacity for passengers/bags is incredibly low.

Edited to note - the payload for these “Lite” minibuses give around 7-8 stone per seat allowance. Fill that bus full of cadets and a couple of staff and legally the vehicles will be overweight.

Go for a 9 seater if your staff only have a B licence.

Yes and no - there are two types of Permit 19, one for vehicles up to 16 seats and one for more.

IImportant point here though:

The permit 19 is NOT to permit people without D1 to drive minibusses (not for hire/reward, etc). That is a basic entitlement that needs no permit.

The P19 is a requirement for any ORGANISATION (eg ATC Sqn) that wants to operate a bus for its members but isn’t (as an organisation) licensed to do so. A bus company (eg Stagecoach) will have something called a PSV licence (separate to the need for its drivers to be qualified); the Permit 19 is in place of that.

Therefore ALL Sqn minibusses need a P19 whether being driven by people with full D1 (whether directly qualified or grandfather rights) or not.

Here endeth the sermon.


Just for clarification, it is a PSV Operators licence not a PCV Licence, but everything else MattB said is 100% correct.

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Depends what version you are looking at, the 17 seat with removeable seats and folding wheelchair ramp gives you and extra 3/4 of a tonne.

Well spotted, now corrected.

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Yes as they are allowed to be up to 4.25 tonnes if including any specialist equipment to carry disabled passengers.

But this is where you get into dodgy ground. Is a flimsy removable wheelchair ramp really enough to class the vehicle as adapted for wheelchairs to allow a B licence holder to drive it?

One copper having a bad day and you end up as that test case in crown court with the people in wigs.

They are great for D1 holders though, as they give us a poo tonne of payload capacity compared to a 17 seater transit.

The manufacturer has taken legal advice and they are being used so widely (every school and most Squadrons within my county have gone down that route) it’s not something that I would worry about.