Buying and hiring a minibus

If your service requires a minibus, you can either buy one or hire from a local organisation. There are two main factors to consider:

  • how often will you use it?
  • how much will it cost?
Buying your own minibus

If you will use the minibus on four or more days a week, it may be more cost effective to buy your own.


  • Minibuses cost between £25,000 and £70,000
  • Allow an extra £10,000 for a wheelchair accessible bus
  • Budget for at least £5000 a year in running costs, including fuel
  • Set aside money for servicing and an eventual replacement


  • find a safe place to keep your minibus
  • arrange safety checks and servicing
  • arrange MOT, tax and insurance
  • keep good maintenance records
  • train and assess your drivers
  • stay up to date with legal and technical requirements for running a minibus
Hiring a minibus

If you will use the minibus on fewer than four days a week, hiring may be more cost effective. You only pay for what you use, so hiring is a good way to trial a new service.

Hiring from a Community Transport Scheme

Many Community Transport schemes operate a pool of minibuses. These may be available to hire for voluntary and statutory groups in their area. Many minibuses will be accessible.

Community Transport Schemes

Hiring from a school or voluntary/community organisation

Search for organisations in Hampshire with a minibus available to hire. Organisations often prioritise minibus hire to local services.

Hampshire County Council minibus hire search

Hiring from a commercial organisation

Minibuses are available to hire from many commercial organisations. You can find them through a business directory or online search.


Community Transport schemes may provide a driver with the minibus. Some have a pool of volunteers who are happy to drive for external groups.

Some organisations provide a paid driver with the minibus. Take this into account in the cost of the hire.

In all cases, you should ensure that the driver:

  • holds the correct licence to drive a minibus
  • meets the criteria set by the minibus owner (e.g. MiDAS trained)
  • has been DBS checked (where passengers are children or vulnerable adults)
Typical costs
  • Community Transport schemes tend to charge a fixed amount per day or half day, plus a rate per mile. Other organisations may charge a mileage rate only
  • Some charge according to the size of the vehicle, so don’t hire a bus larger than you need
  • Costs can vary depending on the type of trip and organisation hiring the vehicle
  • Some organisations may ask for an insurance deposit (this may be refundable)
Legal requirements

Section 19 Standard Permit for Minibus Operation

If your passengers contribute to the cost of a minibus journey in any way, you need a Section 19 Standard Permit. If you are hiring a minibus from a Community Transport Scheme, you may be covered by their permit.

Driver licensing

You must ensure that the driver holds the correct license to drive the minibus.

Passenger safety

You have a duty of care to your passengers.

Please see our Factsheets for more details

Best practice

Minibus owner responsibilities

The minibus owner should provide:

  • a minibus hire agreement
  • a contact in the event of an accident, breakdown or emergency

Your responsibilities

  • Report any damage or wear to the owner
  • Report if you use any items such as the first aid kit or fire extinguisher, so they can be replaced
  • Return the minibus with fuel in the tank (or as specified), free of rubbish and in a timely fashion
  • Pay promptly

MiDAS (Minibus Driver Awareness Scheme)

MiDAS improves minibus driver safety by working with your organisation. Many local organisations require drivers to have an up to date MiDAS certificate.

MiDAS website

Further advice

Community Transport Team
Economy, Transport and Environment Department
Hampshire County Council

Phone: 01962 846785

Case studies
Woodley & Crampmoor Friendship Club

Woodley & Crampmoor Friendship Club organises an event at Woodley Village Hall twice a month.

They hire a minibus from Test Valley Community Services (TVCS) to take members to the village hall and return them home. TVCS provides the minibus and a volunteer driver. The minibus operates under the TVCS Section 19 permit.

The minibus costs £15 for the afternoon, plus 60p per mile. This works out at about £25 per hire. Members contribute a nominal amount for their journeys.

The trip has been so popular, the club has outgrown the 15-seater minibus. They have requested that TVCS provides a second vehicle.

Wellow School

Wellow School hires two minibuses from TVCS to take a class from Wellow to Totton for swimming. The minibus operates under the TVCS Section 19 permit.

Two MiDAS qualified teachers drive the vehicle. TVCS confirmed that they were eligible.

The minibus costs £15 for the afternoon, plus 60p per mile.