What to check if you need to hire a ride, what drivers must do and how to complain.

Small passenger services (SPS) include services that use a driver to transport paying customers include taxis, shuttles, dial a driver, private-hire vehicles and app-based services like Uber. These are regulated by Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA).

Making a complaint

If you have an issue make sure you write down the details of the service including name and ID number, in case you want to lodge a complaint later.

Contact the provider in the first instance. Small passenger services companies are required by law to keep a record of complaints, which is available for inspection by the NZTA.

You can make a complaint directly to NZTA if you’re unhappy with the driver or operator of a small passenger service.

If you're not satisfied with the outcome of your complaint, you can give feedback or lodge a complaint on a range of services here:

Complaint about small passenger services(external link) — Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

What you can expect from your driver

You can expect your driver to:

  • drive a vehicle that is in a safe and roadworthy condition and has a current certificate of fitness (CoF)
  • display an ID card clearly so that you can match the photo with the driver (some services wear their ID)
  • accept the first request for hire unless there is a lawful reason to refuse, or if the service the driver works for only provides services to registered passengers
  • agree the scale or basis of the fare before the trip starts (including additional charges and GST if charged). For example, agree to a total price or use an agreed distance or time rate
  • charge no more than the exact amount of an agreed fare or the cost determined by a meter (less any prepayment made)
  • give you a receipt or cause a receipt for the fare to be issued if you request one (an electronic receipt is acceptable). The receipt should contain the driver’s unique identification details and the vehicle’s registration number
  • if requested, supply a GST receipt (if registered for GST)
  • use a fare meter correctly (if a meter is used)
  • not be driving while tired by following the legal requirements to take breaks when necessary
  • take you to your destination using the shortest or most convenient route to you.

In some cases, such as a pre-booked tour or facilitated cost sharing, the driver may be exempt from some of the above requirements.

What to check

  • Small passenger service licence – You can check if this transport service licence label is displayed in the windscreen at the front of the vehicle – this must be displayed above the registration label.
  • ID Card – Check that the driver has a passenger (P) endorsement ID card displayed (usually on the dashboard). This means they have passed a 'fit and proper' check by the NZTA, which includes medical fitness, police vetting, and transport-related offences.

What drivers must do

Anyone who drives for a SPS (with a maximum of 12 seats, including the driver) for hire or reward needs to have a current Passenger (P) endorsement on their driver's licence from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) except for exempt services.

Volunteer drivers and exempt services(external link) — Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency

The NZTA has certain requirements that must be met before a P endorsement is granted including:

  • Meets mandatory background checks – "fit and proper person" checks.
  • Has held a full New Zealand Class 1 driver licence for at least two years.
  • Passes medical checks.
  • Assessment for a range of other risk factors.

Taxi drivers and drivers of all SPS vehicles are regulated by the NZTA and must

  • have a small passenger service licence, or drive on behalf of someone that does
  • have a current P endorsement on their licence
  • drive a vehicle that has a current certificate of fitness
  • adhere to work time and logbook requirements
  • take the most advantageous route for the passenger
  • agree the scale or basis of the fare (including any extra charges and GST if charged) at the start of the trip and ask for payment of no more than that
  • be able to issue a receipt if requested – either paper or electronic.

Visit the NZTA website to find out more about: