What is the maximum weight any rigid vehicle can be with only two axles?
18 Ton, above that it must have a third axle
What is the largest vehicle that can be driven on a category C licence?
The holder can drive any rigid vehicle with no restriction on weight (provided it is not carrying passengers under PCV regs)
What is the largest vehicle that can be driven on a category D licence?
The holder can drive any rigid vehicle with no restriction on weight (provided it is designed to carry passengers under PCV regs) The holder may also drive a purpose built bendi-bus articulated vehicle as it is considered to be one unit.
The maximum design weight of a bus must be stated on the vehicle; The ULW must be written on the side of the vehicle on the near side in front of the back wheel arch. The carrying capacity must be stated on the vehicle, to include the seating capacity and standing capacity. On double decker vehicles the seating capacity is stated as upper and lower. Standing is not permitted in the upper deck as this would affect the stability of the vehicle. The seating capacity of a bus is governed by weight and not volume, 15 people equals 1 ton. The luggage space is calculated and factored in with the seating capacity, added to the ULW to determine the MAM. Category D licence holders are permitted to drive any size of bus which is approved by the UK government for use on our roads.
If a PCV driver is caught with too many people on their vehicle they will be prosecuted in the same way as a HGV driver would be prosecuted for overloading their vehicle, or a car driver would be prosecuted for over loading their car.
A category D1 licence allows the holder to drive a vehicle with upto 16 passengers. As stated before any rigid vehicle can be upto 18 ton on 2 axles, if it is over 18 ton it must have 3 axles.
A category C1 licence allows the holder to drive a vehicle not designed to carry passengers under PCV regs upto 7.5 ton
As stated category D vehicles are not restricted by MAM, however
They are restricted by seating capacity; thus a vehicle with seating for 16 passengers allows a payload of just over 1 ton [15 people = 1 ton], if you add luggage you might get away with a payload of 2 tons.
Now considering the fact that pre 1997 licences permitted drivers to drive;
A car upto 3.5 ton
A vehicle [goods vehicle] upto 7.5 ton
A bus upto 16 seats [which actually equates to about 7 ton]
It would take a very broad interpretation of the legislation to say that a bus which is designed to carry people rather than "goods" should need to weigh more than 7 ton, the company I drive for has a 17 seater transit which has a MAM of 6.9 ton.
If a minibus was 18 ton it would have to be filled with 11 tons of something other than people. And I would argue that the extra weight would have to be cargo of some description which would make it a "goods vehicle".
If you have a vehicle with 7 tons of people and 11 tons of cargo, I would say that was a dual purpose vehicle under the road traffic act, rather than a bus?