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Who needs a passenger endorsement?

You need a passenger (P) endorsement if you’re driving a small passenger service vehicle such as a taxi or shuttle and you’re getting paid for it or receiving any type of reward.  This includes dial-a-driver type services where the passenger provides the vehicle and you’re paid to drive it.

You also need a P endorsement if you’re driving a large passenger service vehicle such as a bus, regardless of whether you’re getting paid for it. Volunteers and some other people may be exempt from holding a P endorsement. See Volunteer drivers and exempt passenger services to check if that’s you.

You may hold endorsements for both large and small vehicles at the same time.

Small / large vehicle P endorsement

Small passenger service vehicle

A small passenger service vehicle has a maximum of 12 seats, including the driver. 

To drive a small passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement, and 

  • a current driver identification card (ID), and 

  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you’re driving. For example, if you’re driving a car or a van, you need a class 1 licence.

Large passenger service vehicle

A large passenger service vehicle has more than 12 seats.

To drive a large passenger service vehicle you need:

  • a current P endorsement, and

  • a current licence for the type of vehicle you’re driving. For example, if you’re driving a bus with a gross vehicle mass of 10,000kg, you’ll need a class 2 licence.

You don't need to have an ID card to drive large passenger service vehicles.

If you’re not sure if you need a P endorsement, please call us on 0800 822 422.

Getting an endorsement

How much does it cost to apply?

 

Small vehicle

Large vehicle

1 year

5 years

1 year

5 years

Endorsement application

$73

$254.90

$64.40

$246.30

Vetting fee*

$28.80

$144.10

$28.80

$28.80

Full licence test**

$59.90

$59.90

$59.90

$59.90

Total cost

$161.70

$458.90

$153.10

$335.00

* If you only drive a large passenger vehicle, the police check is done once every five years.
** If you’ve passed a class 1 full licence in the last five years, you don’t need this again.

Requirements for a P endorsement

You must have held a full licence for two years

To get a P endorsement, you must have a current New Zealand full licence (class 1) that you’ve held for at least two years.

Holding an equivalent overseas licence doesn’t meet this requirement. If you’ve held an overseas licence, you may be able to apply for an exemption to get your overseas driving experience recognised. You’ll still need to sit a practical driving test (see below).

Make sure you have the right class of licence

If you’re planning to drive a heavy vehicle as a passenger service vehicle, make sure you have the right class of driver licence.

Practical driving test

Before a P endorsement is granted you must demonstrate your ability to drive safely. This means you’ll need to sit a full licence test or show that you’ve passed one in the last five years.

Even if you’re applying for a large vehicle endorsement (eg bus driver) you’ll need to sit the test for a car licence. You’ll also need to hold the appropriate licence for the type of vehicle you’ll be driving with your endorsement.

We’ll check to see if you’re a fit and proper person

Your application will be sent to the NZ Transport Agency so that a fit and proper person check can be done. This will check on things like transport-related offences, criminal convictions and past complaints about you. Serious criminal convictions may prevent you ever receiving a passenger endorsement.

Foreign documentation

If you’ve lived overseas for more than 12 months after the age of 14, or since your last application, you’ll need to have police and traffic documentation from those countries too.

Medical certificate

It’s important that commercial drivers are in good health. We want to ensure that you won’t cause an accident through a health-related incident when you’re responsible for the lives of passengers or driving large vehicles on public roads.

Ask your doctor to complete a Transport Agency medical certificate for you.

Eyesight requirements

Good vision is essential to driving a vehicle safely. You’ll need to provide proof your vision meets the standards for safe driving.

You’ll need to complete a course

You'll need to provide a certificate showing you've successfully completed an approved P endorsement course. This course will ensure you know the legal requirements for drivers of a passenger service vehicle and how to manage and log your time spent driving.

  • If you want, you can make your application before sitting the P endorsement course. You can then do the course while the application is being processed (it can take up to eight weeks).

  • If you’re not sure whether you might pass the fit and proper person check, you can choose to make your application and have the check done first. If you pass the check, you’ll be sent a Notice of determination (valid for 90 days) to let you know, and you can then do your course.

  • The course length and cost are set by the course provider and aren’t part of your application fee.

Find an approved course provider in your area

Additional information for taxi drivers

To drive a taxi, you may also need to hold an area knowledge certificate  for the area where you drive.

As a taxi driver, there are responsibilities you have in the delivery of your service, particularly concerning passengers with limited mobility. You also have the right to refuse service.

More information on your rights and responsibilities

Factsheets

Download Factsheet 42: P endorsements for carrying passengers [PDF, 82 KB]

Download Factsheet 66: Driver licensing courses for licence classes and endorsements [PDF, 70 KB]

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