This rule sets out requirements for obtaining and retaining a licence to operate a passenger, rental, vehicle recovery or goods service vehicle. Also requirements that apply to transport service drivers, ‘dial-a-driver’ service drivers, hirers of rental service vehicles and approved taxi organisations.
Note: Both of these pages will also provide links to the consultation material – such as summary of submissions and FAQs (questions and answers) – for each version and amendment.
Questions and answers are provided to accompany a new rule or amendment when they are signed. These and other consultation documents on this page have not been updated to take into account any later rule amendments and are retained for historic interest only.
The amendment Rule makes changes to Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2007 (the Operator Licensing Rule or the Rule).
In the period from January 2000 to February 2010, the New Zealand Police recorded 677 assaults against taxi drivers. A number of serious assaults on taxi drivers since December 2008, that have seen two drivers killed, have heightened concerns among the industry and the public about the safety and security of taxi drivers.
The Rule changes will provide a deterrent to anyone from committing such a crime and, in the unfortunate event of a driver being attacked, will enable the driver to use his or her taxi's communications system to summon urgent assistance. The changes will also increase the safety of the travelling public.
The amendment Rule outlines the following changes for taxis operating in major towns and cities:
Camera systems (and the enhanced telecommunications systems) will be required in the following centres:
The amendment Rule will come into force on 1 February 2011. All taxis will have until 1 August 2011 to install security camera systems. Existing ATOs at the time the rule comes into force will have until 1 August 2011 to incorporate the new measures into their operating rules and, if required, to upgrade their telecommunication systems. New ATOs will also have until 1 August to ensure cameras are fitted, but must comply with the updated communications requirements at the time of approval.
Those taxis that currently have in-vehicle security cameras fitted will have until 1 February 2012 to have their current systems approved by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), or if their current cameras do not meet requirements, to install an approved camera system.
In addition to the Operator Licensing Rule, changes will also need to be made to the Land Transport (Offences and Penalties) Regulations 1999 to provide offences and penalties for not complying with the requirements.
A definition of 'in-vehicle security camera system' has been inserted into the Rule. A camera system includes the camera, and the means by which the recorded material is stored, and any wiring, controls or connections that may be required for the operation of the system.
In order for a camera system to be approved, an applicant will have to provide the NZTA with information to show that the system meets the minimum design and function specifications set out in the Rule. The NZTA will charge an hourly rate of $115.73 for assessing this information – which is the same as the cost for non-standard approvals under the Transport Services Licensing Regulations 1989. The NZTA will make available a list of camera systems that have been approved.
Taxi operators will be able to choose, from the approved list, a camera system that best fits their individual requirements.
Any camera system which the NZTA approves will be allowed to be used. A list of approved camera systems will be made available on the NZTA's website as soon as the information is available. Camera systems can only be approved on or after 1 February 2011. Any potential camera supplier should email the NZ Transport Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on the approval process. Specifications are set out in Schedule 6 in the amendment Rule.
The camera must be positioned to ensure it records a clear view of all people in the vehicle.
A taxi will have to display notices indicating that the vehicle is fitted with an in-vehicle security camera and advising passengers that the system is operating.
The amendment Rule states that approved taxi organisations (ATOs) will have the overall responsibility for ensuring their members have approved camera systems. These requirements will have to be included in the ATOs' operating rules. Drivers will also be responsible for ensuring a camera is fitted and working when the taxi is being operated.
Images captured by taxi cameras, including those that are in use before the Rule starts to apply, are personal information about passengers and are safeguarded under the Privacy Act 1993.
This protection is supported by provisions in the amendment Rule to ensure that procedures for the handling of data keep it secure and guarantee passenger privacy. There are restrictions on who can access images.
These rules are consistent with Police powers to access images in their investigation of incidents.
Under the Privacy Act, people may request personal information that is held about themselves.
ATOs will be responsible for having a system in place for data management to be set out in their operating rules. This must be approved by the NZTA. Unless images are required for a complaint or investigation or to provide personal information, they will be permanently deleted.
The Rule only relates to vehicles when being operated as a taxi.
All taxis (in the major towns and cities)) will have to have a telecommunications system that provides a booking and dispatch service 24 hours a day/seven days a week from a fixed location and through which all taxis can be contacted.
In the major towns and cities, an ATO must ensure that all drivers are provided with an emergency alert and response system. ATOs will have to have procedures in their operating Rules for responding to an alert received from a driver.
It will not be necessary for an ATO to operate its own communications system. It can be part of a shared system with other ATOs, or provided by contract with an external organisation that can provide a monitoring service.
Yes, but that provision in the Operator Licensing Rule relates to the means by which the public access taxi services and doesn't require that all taxis be linked to the ATO's system.
In-vehicle cameras have been successfully used for at least five years in Australia's main cities. Overseas experience suggests that in-vehicle cameras reduce violent crime in taxis by 70 percent and taxi fare evasion by a similar amount. An in-vehicle camera can also enhance passenger safety.
Improved telecommunications also offer considerable safety benefits, as a monitoring service can respond immediately if alerted to a threat and direct assistance to a taxi driver.
The experience of overseas jurisdictions, particularly Australia, has been that all taxis in an area need to be fitted with cameras in order to see these benefits fully realised. In addition, mandating in-vehicle cameras is the option favoured by a majority of the taxi industry.
The amendment Rule states that the recorded images must be protected from unauthorised access. Design features of in-vehicle security cameras will reduce the likelihood of this.
Overseas experience shows that cameras have a very strong deterrent effect. This is because they increase the likelihood of apprehension by Police.
Driver protective screens are useful in protecting a driver from injury. However there is widespread industry objection to this approach, because of concerns about the negative impact of screens on normal driver-passenger communications.
The varied nature of the New Zealand taxi fleet (there are approximately 241 different vehicle makes and models) makes the fitting of standard screens problematic. In comparison, Australia, where security screens are required, almost exclusively uses three types of vehicle for taxis.
Cost will depend on the type of cameras fitted. Individual taxi owners will be allowed to choose any camera system provided it has been approved by the NZTA.
In evaluating the benefits of mandating in-vehicle camera systems, an estimated cost of $1,100 (GST exclusive) for a camera system was used. Operators will also be able to choose a system which exceeds the minimum requirements. The government will not be determining the price that can be charged for a camera system.
Most taxi organisations already have appropriate systems so they will face no extra cost, while others will need to make some improvements. For those who don't have these systems, an appropriate communications system for a taxi organisation could cost an estimated $2,000 per week to operate.
This cost can be lowered by contracting out the service or sharing facilities and then sharing the consequent reduction in costs.
The costs of installing and operating the camera system and telecommunications systems will be met by industry.
Taxis that normally operate outside of the areas where the new requirements apply may carry a fare into those areas, and may pick up a pre-booked return fare to outside the areas, without having the security camera and enhanced telecommunication systems. However, those taxis cannot ply for hire within the areas where the requirements apply. It should also be noted that all taxi operators may choose to adopt these security measures wherever they operate including areas where it is not a requirement.
The necessary changes required an amendment to Land Transport Rule: Operator Licensing 2007 and were implemented after public consultation.. The amendment Rule was signed in December 2010 and comes into force on 1 February 2011.
There will be a phase-in period of six months from the Rule's coming-into-force date (ie, 1 February 2011) to allow for approval of camera systems, and for taxis to install their camera systems, incorporate the new measures into their operating rules and, if required, to update their communication systems. Taxis that already have security cameras when the Rule comes into force will have 12 months in which to have their current systems approved by the NZTA, or, if their cameras don't meet the requirements, to install approved cameras.
The Land Transport Act 1998 (the Land Transport Act) provides for the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules. Section 158 of the Act provides that Rules may set requirements relating to the licensing of transport operators and provides for the setting of standards, specifications, restrictions, registration, and licensing requirements for transport service operators.
A copy of the final amendment rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops that sell legislation or from Wickliffe Limited, telephone (06) 353 2700. Final rules are available on the website.
Further information about the amendment Rule is available from the NZTA Contact Centre, freephone 0800 699 000.