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What is a passenger service vehicle?

Passenger service vehicles (PSVs) are:

  • vehicles used in a passenger service, no matter how many seating positions they might have 

  • vehicles with more than 12 seating positions (whether they're used for hire or reward or not)

  • heavy motor vehicles (gross vehicle mass (GVM) of more than 3500kg) with more than nine seating positions (whether they’re used for hire or reward or not).

The most common passenger service vehicles are buses, taxis and shuttles.

Rental vehicles are PSVs only if they have more than 12 seating positions, or if they're hired by a passenger service licence holder to operate as a PSV.

Find out more about passenger services
Read a definition of ‘hire or reward’

The PSV Rule

All PSVs have to meet the requirements of Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles 1999 (the PSV Rule). It covers the design, construction and maintenance of all passenger service vehicles in New Zealand.

The purpose of the PSV Rule is to ensure that all PSVs meet general safety requirements and vehicle standards. 

The PSV Rule covers both light PSVs (those with a gross vehicle mass of 3500 kilograms or less) and heavy PSVs (ie those with a gross vehicle mass over 3500 kilograms).

The PSV Rule specifies the legal requirements for PSV design and construction (eg structural strength and roll-over protection, audible reversing alarms and safety requirements for special equipment such as wheel chair hoists and ramps).

If you want to operate a PSV, we strongly recommend you read the PSV Rule. If you don't read it, you may face some unexpected requirements – and therefore expenses. 

Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles 1999

Entry certification and certificates of fitness

PSVs have to be inspected to make sure they meet the requirements of the PSV Rule before they can be registered. 

The initial inspection to make sure the vehicle is up to the required level of safety before it can be registered is called entry certification, and the on-going regular checks are certificate of fitness (CoF) inspections. All PSVs must have a CoF.

When the vehicle is entry certified and inspected it must meet:

  • vehicle standards and other safety requirements that apply to any vehicle of its class
  • the requirements in the PSV Rule.

The PSV Rule includes some requirements for specialist certification. For instance the roll-over strength requirement and the safety of any equipment for people with special mobility needs must be checked by specialist certifiers appointed by the NZ Transport Agency.

Find out more about CoFs
Find a CoF inspection provider in your area (external link)

Change of use certification

If you want to start using your own vehicle as a taxi it will already be registered, but it will still have to undergo change of use certification. The vehicle will also need to meet CoF and PSV Rule requirements.

Contact a PSV certifier

Find a certifier in your area that certifies PSVs (external link)

Operating a passenger service

If you want to operate a passenger service, making sure your vehicle complies with the PSV Rule is just one part of the process. In the interests of public safety there are requirements for the vehicle, and a range of different requirements for you, too.

More information about running a passenger service