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CPC Driver - Bus - D

Steps to become a professional bus driver.

This is an overview of the steps you must take to become a qualified professional driver in your chosen licence category. For a personalised guide to becoming a safe, fully qualified driver visit our MyRoadSafety.ie portal.

To obtain a category D (CPC bus) driving licence you must hold a full valid, category B (car or light van) driving licence and successfully complete all the relevant Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) requirements. You must also prove your identity and your entitlement to a driving licence or learner permit. This means proving that you are at least 21 years of age when applying for a category D (CPC bus) learner permit, that you are normally resident in Ireland, that you have a valid address and personal public services number (PPSN), and that you are medically fit to drive. You should also ensure that your vehicle is safe, roadworthy, insured, taxed and displays L-plates.

If you previously obtained a full category D1 (minibus) licence on or before 9 September 2008, you may be exempt from some or all Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) requirements. 

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The theory test is computer-based and user-friendly. You can choose to sit the bus theory test in your own home or book an appointment at one of our 40+ theory test centres nationwide. The theory test checks your knowledge of topics such as the Rules of the Road, risk perception, eco-driving, hazard awareness, and safe driving behaviour. When you pass the theory test you are issued with a theory test certificate. This is valid for up to two years.

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The case study test requires you to answer questions on three real-life situations a professional CPC bus driver might face. The test is computer-based, user-friendly and takes about 120 minutes. You have the option to sit your case study test at home or in one of the 40+ theory test centres nationwide. When you pass you are issued with a case study test certificate. This is valid for up to two years. 

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A learner permit allows you to drive on all public roads, except motorways, for the purposes of learning to drive a bus and only drive when accompanied by someone who has held a full, valid driving licence in the same category for more than two years.

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To prepare for your practical driving test, it is recommended that all new first-time category D (CPC bus) learner permit holders take lessons with an RSA Approved Driving Instructor. These will help you develop the additional driving and road safety awareness skills you will need to drive a bus professionally. 

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Before taking the practical driving test you must have passed the category D (bus) or combined C and D (truck and bus) driver theory test, hold a valid category D (CPC bus) learner permit and have passed the case study test. The practical driving test checks your knowledge of the Rules of the Road, your ability to drive competently and safely in accordance with those rules and with regard for other road users. The test takes about 90 minutes. It's a combination of questions to test your knowledge and a practical test of your driving skills and awareness.

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Before taking the walkaround test you must have passed the category D (bus) or combined C and D (truck and bus) driver theory test, hold a valid category D learner permit, have passed the case study test and passed the practical driving test. The walkaround test checks your ability to keep both your vehicle and passengers safe and secure. The test takes about 30 minutes. We recommend that you complete both your practical driving test and walkaround test on the same day.

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When you pass the practical driving test you are issued with a certificate of competency. When you pass the walkaround test you are issued with a copy of the tester's marking sheet. Both are valid for up to two years. You must apply for a category D (CPC bus) driving licence within that time. This allows you to drive on all public roads, including motorways, but not in a professional capacity. If you are still a category B (car and light van) novice driver, you must display N-plates on any vehicle you drive for the first two years. 

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Once you get your category D (CPC bus) licence you must then apply for your driver CPC card. You cannot drive professionally until you get this card. You must have passed all four CPC tests (driver theory test, case study test, practical driving test, and walkaround test) before you can apply for a full category D (CPC bus) card.

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Getting your driver CPC card is just one step in becoming a truly safe and competent professional bus driver. You should continue to drive carefully and build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions. The Road Safety Authority offers a range of learning materials that will help you develop your road safety awareness and skills. To stay qualified and maintain your driver CPC card you must attend mandatory RSA training every year for five years. 

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