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Passenger services in New Zealand are required to operate according to set rules. This includes separate rules and requirements for operators of taxi services, private hire services and shuttle services.

These rules and requirements are designed to ensure the safety of passengers and drivers and allow for the monitoring of those services by regulatory agencies such as the Transport Agency and the NZ Police. They also ensure a consistent and fair market for all operators.

Find out more about types of passenger services

What are private hire services?

Private hire services encompass a number of passenger services that use cars and other vehicles with 12 or fewer seats (including the driver), including limousine services and wedding and vintage cars that charge to carry passengers. These services must be pre-booked and drivers must charge a set fare or hourly rate agreed at the time of booking.

Requirements for private hire service drivers

If you are a private hire service driver, you must:

Registering as a private hire service operator

If you want to operate a private hire service, you must:

Download the Private hire service registration form [PDF, 74 KB]

We will then return the form to you, confirming your registration. You must receive confirmation of your registration from us before starting your private hire service.

Private hire service requirements

Private hire services must comply with the following requirements:

  • A private hire service must be booked in advance.
  • If the customer does not make the booking with the private hire service driver directly, but uses a booking agent (a person, online or a smartphone app), the set fare or hourly rate must be agreed between the passenger and the booking agent at the time the booking is made, and the driver must charge no more than that agreed fare.
  • A driver of a private hire vehicle may not use a taxi meter to determine a fare.
  • A driver of a private hire vehicle may only charge a set fare or an hourly rate agreed with the prospective passenger at the time of booking.
  • A private hire vehicle may not be on a road for the purpose of accepting a casual hire, eg a hail.
  • A private hire vehicle may not be fitted with any sign on the roof of the vehicle.
  • The driver of a private hire vehicle must carry a copy of the Transport Agency’s acknowledgement of registration in the vehicle and produce it on demand to an enforcement officer.
  • The driver of a private hire vehicle must maintain a logbook (find out more about work time and logbooks).
  • The operator of a private hire vehicle must maintain a complaints register.
  • The driver of a private hire vehicle must carry in the vehicle the full name, business location, telephone number and transport service number of the transport service licence holder.

Vehicle requirements

Entry certification and certificates of fitness

Passenger service vehicles (PSVs have to be inspected to make sure they meet the requirements of the Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles 1999  (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 in a private hire service, 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)

The PSV rule

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

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 wheelchair hoists and ramps).

It is recommended that you consult an entry certifier to ensure that your vehicle is suitable to be used in a passenger service or to identify changes that need to be made so that it complies.

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. You’ll need to complete at least one approved course in order to get a passenger endorsement on your driver licence. You’ll probably need to obtain a transport service licence as well if you are to be the operator of a service.

Find out more about running a passenger service