On 25 October 2016, Humza Yousaf, Minister for Transport and the Islands, announced a new three-year funding for a D1 Minibus Driver and Instructor Training Programme for the community transport sector in Scotland.
Why the fund is needed
Anyone who passed their standard driving test from 1997 onwards don't have automatic entitlement to driving minibuses (vehicle category D). All drivers who gained their licence since then have to pass a separate D1 driving test to drive a minibus over a certain weight.
The costs of D1 driver training, sitting the test and hiring vehicles for the training and test have become prohibitive. The sector is struggling to finance all of these costs and the result is a future shortage of trained and qualified drivers, particularly younger drivers. This means that many community transport services are at risk.
How the fund helps
The fund, managed by the Community Transport Association Scotland, consists of £150,000 between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
The scheme is aimed to help with factors of D1 driving including:
- driver training
- driving tests
- instructor expenses
- compliant minibus hire costs for training and tests
- development of the D1 driving instructor programme and manual
The end result will be a carefully managed programme to provide a pool of highly trained D1 qualified minibus drivers and instructors, helping to ensure the future sustainability of the sector in Scotland. We anticipate that around 60 drivers will gain a D1 driving licence over the three year period as a result of the fund. There is also the potential in the longer term to see a similar number of D1 driving instructors.
For further information and application forms for assistance from the fund, visit the Community Transport Association Scotland website.