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DRIVING PRESERVED BUSES

Some years ago when we first became involved in the preservation scene, it was possible for UK residents, such as ourselves, on an ordinary full car driving licences to drive any size bus with any number of seats and any number of passengers, as long as it was not for hire or reward.

However, due to pressure from Europe, as we understand it, the licensing regulations were changed, but because we had been driving for over three years at that time, we inherited 'grandfather rights' to continue so doing, which we have done, and continue to do so at present.

The situation that followed with an ordinary car driving licence, was that no bus with over 16 seats could be driven, unless over 30 years of age, fully restored with a full complement of seats, and then with only a maximum of eight passengers. Other than this, the only way to be able to drive preserved buses younger than 30 years old or with more than eight passengers, other than minibuses with less than 16 seats of any age, is to obtain a PSV or PCV licence.

Unfortunately, our newer Trustees are limited to this option and do not have the flexibility that some of the longer-serving Trustees have of continuing to be able to drive any vehicle/bus of any age with any number of seats and any number of passengers.

Obviously, for any exercise in driving to take place, the vehicles need to be appropriately insured for the driver in question, MOTed and taxed.

There is the issue of tachographs, which we understand is also a limitation on driving preserved buses. This being that pre-1947 vehicles have no need for tachographs but newer preserved buses can only be driven without tachographs if they are over 25 years of age and being used to or from a Rally, Road Run, Show or Museum and even then they are limited to eight passengers in excess of the driver. Tachographs are also not required if a vehicles of over 25 years of age is being taken to/from a repairers or to/from an MOT Station, or being road tested.

Consequently, even those Trustees who have 'grandfather rights' are limited to eight passengers when driving vehicles without tachographs, in respect of the above restrictions. Again, we understand this is derived from some European Regulations.


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