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If you’re involved in transporting people for hire or reward – or transporting more than 12 people – you’re providing a passenger service and need a transport service licence.

Read a definition of 'hire or reward'

Common types of transport service are: 


Most bus services use large passenger service vehicles, which have seating for 12 or more people.

You must have a transport service licence to operate a bus service, whether or not the service you offer is for hire or reward.

Bus services include long-distance (intercity), city and suburban transport and tour coaches.


Taxis are usually cars similar to those used for private motoring, but also include minibuses (small vans).

They differ from other passenger service vehicles because they are fitted with ‘Taxi’ signs on their roofs and the drivers use taxi meters to determine the fares that customers are charged.

Only approved taxi organisations can operate taxi services.

Find out more about how to become an approved taxi organisation


Shuttles are minibuses that can carry between 9 and 12 people, including the driver. They often tow trailers that hold passengers’ belongings.

Shuttles transport people to and from major transport centres, airports, railway stations, bus terminals, private homes, hotels and motels.

A shuttle journey must either start or end at an airport, railway station, or bus or ferry terminal.

Download a Shuttle service registration form [PDF, 545 KB]

Private hire

Private hire services typically offer a 'limousine' experience, using vehicles without any signage to indicate they are passenger services. Hotels may use them to transport important guests, who pay a fee for the service.

A private hire journey must be pre-booked.

Find out more about the requirements and responsibilities of private hire drivers and operators


Dial-a-driver services take private motorists home (or to other destinations of their choice) in their own cars – usually when the motorists don't believe they are capable of driving themselves safely.

The dial-a-driver service takes a second driver to the customer's car. This driver then drives the customer's car, plus the driver and any passengers, to their destination. A fee is charged for the service.

Passenger service vehicles

Read more about passenger service vehicles