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Small Bus Permits &

Car Share Legislation

The Students' Union is not a bus company, but we wish to hire our vehicles out for money to cover the fuel and maintenance. As a result, the use of the vehicles, and how we charge for their use has to be carefully considered.

The two minibuses (14 seats) are operated using Small Bus Permits.

The rest of the vehicles are operated under 'car share legislation'.

The University Permit Number we hold is 60699 and was issued on 9th September 1997,

Limitations to passengers

We may only carry the following classes of passengers in a vehicle with one of our Small Bus Permits:

  • ​Class A - Members of the body h​holding the permit

  • Class B - Persons whom the body exists to benefit, and persons assisting them

  • Class D - Pupils or students of any school, college, university or other educational establishment and staff or other helpers accompanying them

This covers the transport of students, staff, and associate members, but it means we cannot transport ordinary members of the public.

The CTA have produced the following flowchart which may be of use, but the final decision lies with the Students' Union Transport Committee:

CTA SBP guide.png 

The maximum fare per passenger (a vehicle could only have one passenger) is limited by the Section​ 19 restrictions to:

"a level to recover the costs of running the vehicle, including an allowance for vehicle depreciation and drivers' wages. However fares must not be set at a level which would produce a regular surplus of income over expenditure because that would be a profit-making operation and would not eligible under the section 19 permit scheme​"


Vehicles operated under a Small Bus Permit with between 9 and 17 seats must have an MOT every year from registration.


We are required to have a minimum set of vehicle inventory. This includes:

  • First Aid Kit

  • Fire extinguisher (​Aqueous Film-Forming Foam - NOT powder as these cause breathing difficulties in confined spaces)

The inventory we place in every vehicle can be found on The vehicles page.

From Vosa's PSV 385 - 01 document:

Drivers of permit vehicles


All drivers should be aware of the risks to passenger safety which can result from driving when tired. It is not sensible to embark on a long trip after a full day's work, whether that work involves driving or not and it should be borne in mind that non­professional drivers are likely to find driving more stressful than professional. It is therefore important to plan more frequent rest breaks than those laid down in Regulations. Aim to have a break from driving of at least fifteen minutes every two hours. If possible, share the driving.

Drivers should be given clear written instruction about their responsibilities covering all aspects of vehicle operation. They should also ensure that they familiarise themselves with the vehicle, including driving practice, before carrying any passengers.

Drivers must not use a mobile telephone whilst driving.

19. Driving entitlement requirements


Regardless of the size of vehicle, all drivers of a vehicle operated under a permit MUST be

21 or over.

The rules covering the driver licensing requirements depend on size of vehicle and when the driver passed their test.

Drivers who hold one of the following may drive, and be paid for driving a permit vehicle of

any size:­i) A passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) driver's licence; ii) A PCV Community licence; or iii) A Northern Ireland licence corresponding to a PCV driver's licence.

Drivers who do not hold one of the above licences must comply with the following requirements.

For small vehicles adapted to carry eight or fewer passenger (section 19 permits only) Have held a full licence authorising the driving of vehicles in category B (cars) for at least two

years and must be 21 or over. There is no restriction on such drivers receiving payment for driving a small vehicle under a section 19 permit.

For small buses (adapted to carry nine to sixteen passengers)

For drivers who do not have a PCV licence (or equivalent), different conditions apply, depending on when they obtained a full licence to drive vehicles in category B (cars).

i)          Drivers granted a full licence to drive vehicles in category B (car, not automatic)

before 1st January 1997. These drivers were automatically granted additional entitlement D1, to drive a small bus not used for hire or reward. For as long as they hold D1 entitlement, these drivers may drive a small bus of any weight used under the permit. There is no restriction on such drivers receiving payment.

On reaching the age of seventy the driver will need to renew their car licence. They may also apply to renew the D1 entitlement but will need to undergo a compulsory medical examination as they must meet required health standards. If they pass the medical examination they can continue to drive a small bus under a permit on the same conditions as before. The renewed car licence and D1 entitlement are normally valid for three years.

ii) Drivers who passed their car test on or after 1st January 1997. Drivers who pass their car test on after this date are no longer granted D1 entitlement. Category B entitles them to drive a small bus but only if all of the following conditions are met:­

•               The driver has held a full category B car licence for at least two years;

•               The driver receives no payment or other consideration for driving other than out­of-pocket expenses;

•               The vehicle has a maximum gross weight not exceeding 3.5 tonnes (4.25 tonnes including specialised equipment for the carriage of disabled passengers);

•               For drivers aged 70 or over, that they do not have any medical conditions which would disqualify them from eligibility for a D1 licence.

•               No trailer is being towed.

•               Where the driver's licence only authorises the driving of vehicles with automatic transmission, that only a vehicle with automatic transmission is used


Drivers aged 70 or over who do not meet the higher medical standards are not authorised to drive small buses. They can drive small vehicles being used under a permit, provided they have renewed their car licence.

Car Share Legislation

​For vehicles where we do not require a Small Bus Permit, because it can be driven on a car licence, we use car share legislation, which is much simpler.

The legislation is designed for when a car owner gives someone else a lift, and asks for fuel money in return. We therefore can charge passengers for the use of the vehicle, but only as much as fuel and maintenance - just like with a SBP, we cannot make profit through use of the vehicles. Due to the 'passenger contribution' model, the finance system is configured to charge for use of the vehicle per passenger.

The driver of these vehicles may be paid, but this must be by the hirer or the Union, not by the passengers.​

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The University of Surrey Students’ Union is a private limited company, registered in England & Wales with registered number 07470232, registered at Union House, Guildford, GU2 7XH. The Union is also a registered charity, registered with charity number 1142479

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