Alliance to hold information sessions on minibus licensing changes

Alliance MLAs will host information sessions to outline changes being introduced to minibus licensing which may impact transport for schools and other organisations.

Under current rules, drivers with regular car licences can operate minibuses on a not for profit basis for schools, charities and community transport associations. However, new guidance issued by the Department for Infrastructure to the Education Authority states “anyone who is paid while driving…cannot be regarded as a volunteer” and must have a full minibus driving licence.

Strangford MLA Kellie Armstrong, who was formerly Director of the Community Transport Association, said the changes will have a major impact on many community groups, schools and charities.

“I recently led a cross-party delegation to discuss this issue with the Department and was able to secure confirmation they will give drivers three to six months to apply and pass their commercial driving test. In addition, they confirmed as long as a driver has made an application and has a provisional D1 licence, they will be able to continue to drive a minibus as long as they pass their test before the end of March 2018.

“Unfortunately, adequate notice has not been given to drivers or organisations. Therefore, Alliance has decided to hold these information sessions to better update those who will be affected. They are free sessions and I would urge as many people as possible to attend them in order to ensure they are across the new rules.”

Sessions will be held on the following dates.

Wednesday, November 29 – 4pm-5pm, Ashfield Boys High School. Holywood Road, Belfast.

Monday, December 4 – 1.30pm-2.30pm, Alliance office, 8 West Street, Carrickfergus.

Tuesday, December 5 – 3.30pm-4.30pm, Londonderry Park Function Room 1, Portaferry Road, Newtownards.

To register for the Newtownards event, see

For others, contact the respective offices on 02890 472004 and 02893 350 286.

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