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This page relates to the 2018-21 National Land Transport Programme.


This section describes the public transport activity class and provides links to public transport continuous programmes and improvements requirements, work category definitions and guidance, and assessment of public transport continuous programmes and improvements. 

The public transport activity class is defined in the Government Policy Statement on land transport(external link) (GPS) as the investment in public transport infrastructure, services and operations to maintain or improve levels of service.

The public transport activity class is broken down into two distinct groupings:


Government expectations

The government has set out its expectations of the land transport system in the  GPS(external link).

These include results from investments in public transport from the National Land Transport Fund.

  • Short-to-medium term results

    For public transport, the government expects:

    • a significant mode shift away from private vehicle travel to public transport for urban centres
    • increase in public transport availability and frequency of services
    • services that make public transport more affordable for people on low incomes
    • public transport that is suitable for people with disabilities and supports the Disability Action Plan
    • continued investment in specialised services such as Total Mobility and SuperGold concessions
    • a more accessible and better integrated transport network including public transport, walking and cycling
    • a substantial lowering of emissions through highly patronised public transport and lower emission vehicles
    • public transport services to new housing areas
    • investment in technologies that provide information about travel choices, and how to access and move easily between modes.
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  • Long-term results

    For public transport, the government expects:

    • significant reduction in deaths and serious injuries
    • metropolitan and high-growth urban areas to be better connected and accessible - considering transport’s role in the urban development and as a place-maker
    • better access to markets, business areas and supporting tourism
    • increased mode shift from private vehicle trips to public transport in our towns and cities
    • more transport choice (including for people with less or limited access to transport
    • improved network resilience for the most critical connections
    • reduction of transport’s negative effects on the global climate
    • reduction of transport’s negative effects on the local environment and public health
    • better informed investment decision making.
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Qualifying for NLTP consideration

To qualify for for inclusion in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) and subsequent funding approval:

  • any proposed activity is eligible by meeting the definition of the public transport activity class in the GPS and the appropriate work category definition in this knowledge base (PIKB)
  • contracted bus, rail and ferry services, including supporting operations and infrastructure, as well as Total Mobility services, provided within a regional network must be included in the relevant regional public transport plan (RPTP)
  • all regionally delivered public transport activities proposed for inclusion in the NLTP must be included in a regional land transport plan (RLTP)
  • organisations must comply with the Waka Kotahi Procurement manual and procurement rules, as well as any relevant standards and guidelines as listed in the Waka Kotahi Register of network standards and guidelines.

There are two types of public transport activities for inclusion in a RLTP:

  • Public transport programmes, which consist of existing services and supporting operational amenities inclusive of allowances for minor variations and service reconfigurations that result in no or minimal increases in the annualised cost for the total programme
  • Public transport improvements, comprising both infrastructure and new service improvements, ie all public transport infrastructure projects and public transport service and operational activities that are separate from and additional to the existing services and operations of the public transport continuous programme, even though the same work categories may apply.

Public transport activities described in the following work categories are eligible for inclusion.


Supporting information required

Organisations need to provide evidence to support any Transport Investment Online(external link) (TIO) application seeking inclusion of activities in the NLTP or for subsequent funding approval. This evidence should demonstrate that the proposal will provide an effective solution.

The following supporting information must be provided and referenced in the TIO application.

  • Supporting information required

    For public transport, supporting information required consists of:

    • the transportation section of the approved organisation’s long-term plan (LTP)
    • the RPTP prepared under part 5 of the Land Transport Management Act 2003
    • other relevant information not referenced in the LTP or RLTP, or which requires more space than is available in the TIO comments section, and should include:
      • a supporting business case – for public transport continuous programmes that applies the principles of the business case approach and is expected to be adopted and applied by the RPTP
      • network or service level strategies or plans developed separately to the RPTP or the supporting business case
      • benefit–cost ratio information to support any public transport improvement activity larger than a low cost, low risk improvement
      • completion of the public transport low cost, low risk improvements template for all improvement activities up to $1,000,000 total cost per activity
      • evidence to support the cost–benefit appraisal of the public transport continuous programme. (We recommend the use of the cost–benefit appraisal to assist determine the cost–benefit appraisal rating (high/medium/low) for the programme)
      • information used to support development of an organisations programme, eg forecast network demand, option assessment, sensitivity testing, supporting information for patronage and fare revenue projections
      • explanations and justifications of cost and scope changes from previous forecasts, eg input price changes, retendering.
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Conditions of funding

Typically, Waka Kotahi will approve funding for a public transport continuous programme for all three years in a NLTP, as part of the NLTP adoption. However, Waka Kotahi may decide to impose terms and conditions on funding for all or part of the approved public transport continuous programme, due to:

  • insufficient information submitted or attached in TIO to provide Waka Kotahi with the confidence to approve funding in full. A key determinant of this is likely to be the assessment of the business case and the rating assigned by Waka Kotahi as captured in TIO
  • a lack of confidence in the forecasts provided in support of the application for funding
  • network performance indicators providing evidence of low returns on investment with insufficient or unreliable evidence that returns will improve.

The terms and conditions may apply across all three years of a NLTP or to particular years, eg Waka Kotahi may approve funding the first year of a public transport continuous programme in the newly adopted NLTP, but set conditions that have to be met before funding is released for any subsequent year.