A small passenger service (SPS) uses vehicles that carry 12 people or less (including the driver) to carry passengers. You need a small passenger service licence if you carry passengers for hire or reward.

Small passenger services include taxi and app-based services, shuttle services and private hire services. Dial-a-driver services are also small passenger services but the customer vehicles used in these services are not passenger service vehicles.

More information about passenger service vehicles

How do I apply?

You'll need to apply at a driver licensing agent. 

Find a driver licensing agent in your area

You'll need to provide:

For any questions regarding Transport Service Licence applications please email tsl@nzta.govt.nz

Annual TSL fees

There’s an annual TSL fee of $98.87 for each vehicle operated under your TSL. You'll pay this as part of each vehicle's licence fees (rego).

More information about annual TSL fees

Persons in control

Under section 30L of the Land Transport Act 1998, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency must be satisfied that anyone who will have, or is likely to have, control or involvement in the operation of the transport service is a fit and proper person, including any representative.

Anyone who has direct or indirect control of any part of the management of the organisation must complete a Personal details form (TL02) [PDF, 77 KB] and provide evidence of identity. This is so we can determine if they all meet the requirements of a fit and proper person. This includes any New Zealand representative.

Requirements of persons in control

New Zealand representative

Where none of the people who will be in control of your small passenger service live in New Zealand, you must provide the name and address of a representative living in New Zealand. This representative is authorised by you to:

  • engage with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency on matters relating to your compliance with the relevant requirements of the Land Transport Act 1998 and all regulations and rules, and

  • accept service of legal documents on your behalf.

The New Zealand representative will also need to complete a Personal details form (TL02) [PDF, 77 KB] and be vetted to check they are a fit and proper person. 

TSL label

The Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2017 requires all vehicles operating under a small passenger service licence to display a TSL label (except for dial-a-driver and facilitated cost-sharing passenger services).

TSL labels are required so that operators who rent, lease, borrow or share vehicles can move their details easily between vehicles. The labels also allow a passenger or enforcement officer to identify the licence the service is working under.

Find out more about TSL labels

Passenger endorsement

Anyone working for your service that is going to be driving passengers for hire or reward will also need a passenger (P) endorsement on their driver licence. 

Find out more about passenger endorsements

Penalties for operating an unlicensed service

It’s illegal to operate an unlicensed small passenger service. 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).

More information

More information about running a passenger service

More information about buses and other passenger services