There is plenty of patience and studying when learning how to drive. However, for those who want to drive a commercial vehicle, obtaining that type of license becomes quite the process. Commercial vehicles are broadly defined as ones that are used for transporting goods or paying passengers. They are included in an entirely different license class than a regular motorized vehicle and in order to legally drive one, you must have the correct license. There are four classes of commercial licenses in Alberta and starting on March 1, 2019, all road tests will be conducted by Government of Alberta employees.
A Class 4 license allows you to drive a taxi, ambulance, or bus that seats fewer than 25 people (including the driver). Obtaining a Class 4 license requires you to be at least 18 years old and hold a Class 5 (non-probationary) operator’s license. While not mandatory, it is recommended that you take a Driver’s Education course prior to upgrading to a commercial vehicle license. For the road test, you’ll have to provide a Class 5 vehicle or a bus with a seating capacity not exceeding 24 passengers. Once you acquire a Class 4 license, you will be able to operate the following:
- Any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles that the holder of a Class 5 license may operate
- A bus that has a seating capacity of not more than 24, excluding the driver
- An ambulance or taxi
- All motor vehicles under Classes 1, 2, 3, and 6 for learning purposes only
A Class 3 license allows you to drive a single motor vehicle with three or more axles. It also allows you to drive a motor vehicle with three or more axles while towing a trailer with one or more axles. In order to drive a trailer that is equipped with air brakes, you must have an air brake “Q” endorsement. To qualify for a Class 3 license, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a Class 5 (non-probationary) license. Like the Class 4 license, it is not mandatory to take a Driver’s Education course before upgrading to a commercial license, but it is recommended. With a Class 3 license, you will be able to operate:
- Any motor vehicle or combination of vehicles of the Class 5 license
- A single motor vehicle with three or more axles
- A single motor vehicle with three or more axles towing a trailer with one or more axles
- Class 2 or 4 type vehicles without passengers
- All motor vehicles under Classes 1, 2, and 6 for learning only
You will not be able to operate a vehicle that:
- Can seat more than 15 people including the driver
- Transport passengers for hire
With a Class 2 license, you are able to legally drive a bus with more than 25 passengers. To obtain a Class 2 license, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a Class 5 (non-probationary) license. Once you obtain a Class 2 license, you can operate:
- Any motor vehicle that holders of Class 3, 4, or 5 licenses are allowed to drive
- A bus, seating less than 25 or more than 25 passengers
- A Class 1 or 6 vehicle, as a learner
The Class 1 license is the most all-encompassing license that you can obtain. With a Class 1 license, you are able to drive any motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle. This includes all vehicles with air brakes. Since a motorcycle falls under the Class 6 license, you will only be able to operate it as a learner. In order to obtain a Class 1 license, you need to be at least 18 years of age and hold a Class 5 (non-probationary) license.
That concludes our summary of each license class in Alberta. If you’re curious about the basic licenses in Alberta, we covered that in last week’s blog post! For more information regarding commercial licenses, please contact Motor Vehicles of Alberta.