Please note: the Land Transport Amendment Bill (LTAB) (external link) is currently before Parliament and proposes changes to the regulatory framework for small passenger services (external link) (passenger vehicles with 12 seats or less, including driver). If the legislation is passed, in a few months Approved Taxi Organisations (ATOs) will cease to exist. Instead, the same rules will apply across all small passenger services. Please consider these upcoming changes when thinking about making an ATO application.
Sections 30P and 30Q of the Land Transport Act 1998 set out the minimum requirements approved taxi organisations (ATOs) must meet, while section 8 of the Land Transport Operator Licensing Rule details the legal standards and requirements.
The information on this page is just an overview.
Operating a taxi service comes with many responsibilities, which is why you have to be an approved taxi organisation to provide this passenger service. ATOs coordinate taxi services operating under their name.
To become an ATO you need to apply to us. You will need to contact your nearest Transport Agency office and speak to a transport officer, who will assist you through the application process for your area. You'll need to pay the required fee when you apply.
At least one person who has a controlling position in your organisation must hold a Certificate of knowledge of law and practice to show they have an adequate knowledge of the legal requirements and responsibilities to operate an ATO.
To gain this certificate, our transport officers will assess you on your knowledge of the rules and legislative requirements.
As part of the assessment process, you’ll need to provide proof of your identity.
The study guide for the Certificate of Knowledge can be viewed on-line or downloaded using the links below. The study guide is available in printed format as part of the application process.
All ATOs must have operating rules. The rules, and any amendments to them, must be approved by us, and ATOs must ensure their members and drivers comply with them. Each ATO is responsible for developing its own rules.
We can only approve your application as an ATO if we’re satisfied your rules provide adequate control over your members and drivers.
Unless exempted by us, you must provide your taxi service and take phone bookings 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. You must also advertise your ATO’s telephone number in the White Pages as soon as practicable (in the next edition for the area(s) in which you will operate).
You must notify us within 14 days if you change:
the person in control of your ATO
your business address or phone number
the areas in which you operate.
Passenger service licences must be held by:
ATOs that employ drivers – as employees – to drive taxis
members of ATOs who drive taxis.
Drivers who are employees of ATOs are not required to hold a passenger service licence. They are covered under the employing ATOs' licence.
You and your drivers have a number of legal and other responsibilities in providing a safe and effective passenger service.
As an operator of an ATO, you must ensure all your drivers have:
Immigration law requires you to ensure your drivers can legally work in New Zealand, which means they must hold New Zealand residency or a work permit. Check the Immigration Service website for information.
You must report to us within 48 hours if you:
Incidents of misconduct could include driver violence, assault, sexual offences, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, dangerous or reckless driving.
ATOs are required to keep a number of registers, which must be made available when requested by an enforcement officer, at any reasonable time of day.
You must keep registers of:
As far as practicable, your complaints register must include:
Driver hour logs must:
These records of driver hours help demonstrate that you are maintaining adequate control of your drivers, which is an important consideration in the ‘chain of responsibility’. The chain of responsibility recognises that everyone who influences a driver’s behaviour and compliance should, and must, be held accountable if that influence results in non-compliance.
We must approve all ATO signage.
It also includes Braille information, which all taxis must display on the inside of either left passenger doors.
To get our approval, your new signage must be distinguishable from the signage used by other ATOs operating in the same area.
Your drivers must use the latest signage approved by us, including fare schedules. When you replace your signage, you must ensure use of the old signage is discontinued.
You may use more than one brand name or signage – and fares – provided they target different markets.
You must ensure that all your vehicles display your fare schedule – and only the schedule most recently approved by us. The fares schedule must state whether GST (goods and services tax) is included.
See the Operator Licensing Rule 2007 for detailed information on how you must display fare schedules.
If you charge GST you must be registered for GST. If you or your operators are unsure of GST requirements, visit the IRD website.
Whether your receipts are handwritten or printed, each fare receipt must include:
If the receipt is also a tax invoice, then IRD requirements will also apply.