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Transport service licences

From 1 July 2017 the vetting fee has changed from $28.80 to $9.70.

Who needs a transport service licence?

Whether you're an individual or a company, you must hold the appropriate transport service licence (TSL) if you're operating:

There are different kinds of TSLs for each type of service.

Penalties for operating an unlicensed service

It's illegal to operate an unlicensed transport service of the kinds listed above. If you're convicted, you may face a fine of up to $10,000. The fine increases to a maximum of $25,000 for subsequent convictions.

In addition to the fine, the court may impound vehicles used in an unlicensed service for up to 90 days (no matter who owns them).

How to apply for a TSL

Fill out an application form

You'll need to fill in the appropriate form for the kind of TSL you wish to apply for. You can download it from our website, or get it from your nearest Transport Agency regional office. Then you'll need to return it to us, making sure you have provided everything necessary for the application.

Download an application form for a transport service licence

What do I have to provide?

You will need to provide:

  • the application fee of $449.80

  • a vetting fee of $9.70 per person for police vetting (each person named as being in control of the licence will be vetted by the police). 
  • a certificate of knowledge of law and practice relevant to the TSL you are applying for, except if you are going to operate a dial-a-driver or rental service

  • the personal details required in the application form, including a statement asserting that the information supplied in the application form is correct and that you are not disqualified from holding or obtaining a transport service licence.

What is the criteria for approval?

Any one who will hold the licence or will be in control of the transport service must complete a personal details form and will have to meet the legal 'fit and proper person' criteria.

Certificate of knowledge of law and practice

One of the requirements for getting a transport service licence is that either the licence holder or a person in control of the service must hold a certificate of knowledge of law and practice. This shows that the holder of the certificate has the required knowledge of the laws and practices relating to the safe, efficient and proper operation of a transport service.

Who might be granted a waiver from holding a Certificate of Knowledge of Law and Practice?

Operators of rental services and operators of dial-a-driver services do not have to hold a certificate, but must still hold the appropriate transport service licence.

In special circumstances, the Transport Agency may waive the requirement for other transport service operators to hold a certificate where the service is limited or infrequent – for example, a truck that is used to carry apples in the picking season, but that only carries bits and pieces around the orchard for most of the year. Generally, waivers are granted for operators who are carrying their own goods and not for hire or reward.

The application form for a waiver is available from our contact centre.

How do I get the certificate?

To get a certificate of knowledge of law and practice, you have to pass a test run by Assessment Systems Limited (now known as Aspeq). 

The test covers the rules relating to the type of service you will be operating and specific knowledge relating to the requirements and responsibilities of a transport service licence holder. There is an individual handbook for each class of service. TSL handbooks are available from our regional offices.

About the tests

The Aspeq website has information on the test, including sample test questions.

The test questions are based on the Knowledge of law and practice handbook. You can buy the handbook online from Aspeq.

The test, which is computer based, is ‘open book’, which means you may take the handbook into the test with you. Handbooks are not supplied by Aspeq at the test venue. 

An example of how the computer based test works can be found on the Aspeq website.

You have up to two-and-a-half hours to complete the test and you must score 80 percent or higher to pass the test.

Test standards are set and audited by the Transport Agency.

Visit the Aspeq website (external link)

What identification do I need to bring to the tests?

On the day of the test, you'll need to show identification that has both your photograph and signature on it (eg your driver licence or passport). If you don't present acceptable identification, you won't be able to sit the test.

When does the test take place?

Aspeq has timetables for when the test takes place in different areas. These are available on the Aspeq website (external link) .

Aspeq also offers an 'on demand' option, which reduces the waiting period but costs more.

What are the costs?

Handbook and testCurrent price as at 1 January 2017 (incl. GST)
TSL handbook – Knowledge of law and practice (includes postage & packaging) $50.50
Goods, passenger or recovery
Optional extras
Reader assisted $479.50
On-demand examination $379.50
Interpreter exam $900.50

How do I apply to sit the tests?

You can book your exam up to 24 hours before the exam starts, subject to availability.

Existing candidates who have a current ASL/Aspeq client number

Go to the Aspeq website (external link)  and click on 'Log On'. Enter your username and password and follow the prompts. Then click on Book Exam on the left hand side menu.

If it is your first time with ASL

Go to the ASL website (external link)  and click 'Register.' Follow the prompts to either order your exam electronically or download the ASL417 form and post it together with payment (cheque made out to Assessment Systems Ltd) to the Aspeq offices at:

Assessment Systems Ltd
PO Box 30343
Lower Hutt

If your application is incomplete, Aspeq may return the form to you for completion. If your application is not received in time for the exam booking to proceed, you may be booked in to the next available session.

For information on transfers to different test dates, cancellations or refunds refer to the Aspeq website (external link) .

Download Factsheet 47 – Transport service licences [PDF, 53 KB]