Planning a field trip for your organization? Need to drive your team to the big game out of town? Hosting a family reunion? If you’re in charge of transportation, you may be wondering, “Do I need a special driver’s license to rent a coach or bus for this group?”
The answer is, it depends.
In order to drive a vehicle with more than 15 passengers in the U.S., you must have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). There are three types, or classes, of CDL licenses – A, B and C – that cover different vehicle sizes, weights and cargoes.
However, if you need to transport a smaller group, you won’t necessarily need a CDL. Master’s Transportation offers a range of rental vehicles that hold 15 passengers or less, including:
- The Ford Transit Van
- The Mercedes Benz Sprinter
- A 15-passenger shuttle
- A 12-passenger + 2 wheelchair shuttle
For any of these options, you can use a standard state driver’s license to rent and drive the vehicle. And whether you need a shuttle or bus for just a day, have a weekend event or need wheels for up to a month or more, we’ve got you covered.
What if I have a larger group I need to transport?
If you need a bigger vehicle, such as a 25-passenger shuttle, you won’t be able to drive unless you have a CDL Type C license. A Type C license is required for any vehicle with more than 15 passengers.
If you’re going to be driving and/or renting large shuttles or vans often for your organization, team, etc., you may want to consider getting a CDL. Keep in mind, however, that obtaining one takes time and involves both written and driving tests – which many people don’t pass the first time around – so it requires some additional preparation and planning.
Also, remember that driving a large passenger vehicle requires a different level of experience, skill, and physical ability than a “regular” car or truck.
If you decide to apply for a CDL, you’ll need to start by getting a copy of the CDL manual for your home state. Each state has its own manual and test, so you need to make sure you have your own state’s manual to prepare and study.
The next step is to obtain a CDL Learner’s Permit, or CLP. The CLP only authorizes you to practice with a qualified CDL holder, and you are required to have the permit for at least 14 days prior to taking the exam. Your driving record will be checked and you’ll have to show that you’re medically qualified to drive (different states have different requirements, but may require a Department of Transportation physical exam).
Finally, you’ll need to take the written and skills tests for your state. There are numerous courses, books and online sites that offer assistance in preparing for the tests. Once you pass the exams, you’ll either receive your license immediately or through the mail. At this point, you should be ready to go!
For more information on the requirements necessary for obtaining a CDL Type C license, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website.
Have questions about renting a smaller shuttle or van? Contact us today.