Guide

Operating a bus service in Northern Ireland

How to get a bus operator licence

You need a Bus Operator’s Licence to carry passengers if you use a vehicle that is constructed and equipped for carrying nine or more passengers (not counting the driver) for hire or reward. Hire or reward means any payment in cash or kind to enable the passenger to use your service.

If a vehicle is constructed and equipped for carrying up to eight persons (not counting the driver) it is classed as a taxi, not a bus - see setting up and running a taxi service.

You should apply for an operator licence two months before it is required. If you carry passengers for reward without a bus operator licence you may be prosecuted - find more information on the bus operator licence application process in Northern Ireland.

How do I apply for a Bus Operator Licence?

You can apply online for a Bus Operator Licence. You should apply for an operator licence two months before it is required.

As part of your application you will need a criminal record check - see Access NI criminal records checks.