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Can You Drive an HGV on a Bus Licence?

13 April 2023

Whether you drive a bus or HGV for a living, you must have a Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) as well as a vocational driving licence. However, you’re a bus driver, you may be wondering whether your PCV licence (Passenger Carrying Vehicle) covers you to drive other large vehicles like HGVs.

Driving a bus is, and has always been, a popular career choice. But with so many career benefits for commercial drivers, often many people within the sector consider other routes in the transport and logistics industry at some point in their life. Perhaps you’re looking for a slight career change. Or you may simply want to try something new. Regardless, with so many different licence categorisations, it can be a bit of a minefield working out what other vehicles you’re entitled to operate.

In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about whether or not you can drive an HGV on a PCV licence and answer some commonly asked questions around the topic.

PCV Licence Entitlement

If you drive a bus, you’ll have a PCV licence. There are two main categories:

  • Category D1 – allows you to drive minibuses with 9 to 16 passenger seats
  • Category D – allows you to drive buses and coaches with more than 16 passenger seats
    (you may also see these categories with “+E” appended, which denotes an entitlement to drive with a trailer – see below)

Can PCV Drivers Drive HGVs?

In short – the answer is no. Above all, ensuring that drivers have the right licence and skills required to drive different types of vehicles is key to maintaining road safety. Whilst buses are similar in size to heavy goods vehicles, the difference in weight and manoeuvrability does make it necessary for separate driving categories, as well as different training requirements. Plus, buses are used to transport people, whereas HGVs are primarily used to carry goods, meaning there’s also varying duties of care.

Towing trailers

If your provisional bus licence was issued from 15th November 2021, you can now learn to drive in a bus or coach towing a trailer heavier than 750kg (category D+E). However, if you had a provisional licence before this date, you’ll need to take additional steps to upgrade your provisional licence.

When you pass your test in a bus or coach towing a trailer, you’re allowed to drive the following vehicles:

  • a minibus (category D1)
  • a minibus towing a trailer (category D1+E)
  • a bus or coach (category D)
  • a bus or coach towing a trailer (category D+E)

Note – the “+E” suffix in licence categories means that you may tow a trailer weighing more than 750kg behind your vehicle.

What Type of Licence Do I Need to Drive an HGV?

The most common type of HGV licence is a category C1 licence. This allows you to drive lorries that weigh up to 7.5 tonnes. If you want to be able to operate vehicles that weigh more than 7.5 tonnes, you’ll need a category C licence or for articulated vehicles, category C+E.

Getting to grips with all the different parts of a driving licence can feel confusing, so we’ve created a guide to help you understand your driving licence in more depth.


Can I drive a 7.5 tonne lorry on a bus licence?

No. If the vehicle has a MAM (maximised authorised mass) between 3.5 tonnes and 7.5 tonnes, a category C1 licence is needed.

What can you drive with a PCV licence?

Minibuses with 9 to 16 passenger seats (D1), and buses and coaches with more than 16 passenger seats (D).

If I have both bus/coach and lorry categories on my licence, can my periodic training be uploaded to both categories?

Yes. Periodic training is not specific to a category, but you should check the topics for the course you book as some modules are tailored specifically to bus/coach or lorry drivers only.

Periodic training can only be uploaded to categories for which you have either passed the initial qualification or hold acquired rights. If you recently acquired a bus or lorry category, you many need to pass the initial qualification before you can have periodic training uploaded to that category. More information can be found on

Does my HGV licence allow me to drive a bus?

No. You need a PCV licence to be able to drive a bus.

Is HGV and PCV theory test the same?

The multiple-choice test and hazard perception test for the HGV and PCV licence are two separate tests.

Can an HGV driver drive a bus?

If you want to drive a bus (with or without a trailer), you’ll need a few extra qualifications on top of your HGV licence. Mainly, you’ll need a category D licence to start with, and then you’ll need a category D+E licence on top of that if you want to attach a trailer behind the bus.