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Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles 1999

This rule specifies the legal requirements for the design and construction of all passenger service vehicles in New Zealand. Includes privately owned and operated vehicles that have more than 12 seats or that are heavy motor vehicles with more than nine seats.

Rule versions

  • The ‘Current rule’ will give you the most up-to-date version of the Rule and any amendments made to it. We recommend this as your reference point if you want to read the most current information.
  • The ‘Original rule and amendments’ will give you the very first version of the rule (as it was when it was first created) as well as links to all amendments made to it over time. We recommend this page as your reference page if you want to research the history of the rule.

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

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.

Land Transport Rules – questions & answers

Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles Amendment [2012]

Why has Land Transport Rule: Passenger Service Vehicles 1999 (the Rule) been amended?

The Rule had been in place for more than a decade and amended several times. A further amendment was required as its requirements needed updating to reflect ongoing changes in technology and practices. The amendment will enhance safety for users of passenger transport services.

The amendment will also clarify the Rule to reduce ambiguity, correct errors and assist compliance.

What is the legal basis for the Amendment Rule?

Section 155(a) and (b) of the Land Transport Act 1998 provides for the Minister of Transport to make Land Transport Rules that:

  • set out standards and requirements concerning vehicles, including their construction, mass and dimensions, emissions, environmental requirements, loading requirements, identification, repair, maintenance, modification, inspection, and fuel systems;
  • set out standards and requirements concerning systems, components, devices, fittings, or equipment to be incorporated in the construction of, fitted to, or carried in or on motor vehicles, or to be used by the driver or any other person.

Does this Rule cover everything related to standards and requirements for passenger service vehicles?

No, some systems, fittings, components, and equipment (for example, seatbelts, tyres, brakes) are not covered by this Rule. They are covered by separate vehicle standard rules.

Topics included in the amendment

Entrance and exit points

1. What changes have been made to one of the minimum door height exceptions?

Before this amendment, small (up to 25 seat and 7,000kg GVM) mass-produced passenger service vehicles had a minimum door height exception with a condition that they are not permitted to carry standing passengers, even though their aisle height is satisfactory for standing passengers. These vehicles are suitable for school bus service but this is not viable if they cannot carry standing passengers. Exemptions are issued to allow these vehicles to carry standing passengers.

The amendment to the Rule removed the prohibition on standing passengers so exemptions for these passenger service vehicles are no longer needed.

2. How do the changes address the risk of passengers being trapped or injured by power-operated doors?

A new provision clarifies the requirements and specifies a standard inspection procedure for power-operated doors.

3. What are the changes in relation to the use of speed-sensitive door locking devices?

The amendment will allow speed-sensitive door locking devices to be used.

4. What is the change in relation to 'slip-resistant' surfaces?

The term 'non-slip' has been replaced with 'slip-resistant' in relation to the requirement for the surfaces of steps, aisles and ramps in passenger service vehicles. This brings the wording into line with overseas standards which use the term 'slip-resistant'.

5. What is the change in relation to extending steps?

The amendment corrects an error in the Rule relating to the use of extending steps for access to passenger service vehicles.

Previously, the Rule did not allow extending steps for access on a passenger service vehicle to extend more than 20 mm beyond the body line of the vehicle both when they are folded away and when extended.

The Rule now allows the fitting and use of extending steps. Where manually operated extending steps extend further than 20 mm beyond the bodyline of the vehicle they must be fitted with an alarm to alert a driver if the vehicle moves off while the steps remain extended.


6. What changes have been made to aisle height?

The minimum aisle height requirement has been reduced from 1.83m to 1.80m where the Certificate of Loading allows only primary- or intermediate-school pupils to stand.

Seating requirements

7. Has any additional type of seat been added to the Rule and has the use of folding seats been extended?

Tilting seats have been included in the Rule and sideways-facing folding seats without armrests may now be fitted in heavy passenger service vehicles to enable the carriage of wheelchairs or pushchairs in a multi-use area.

8. Why has the Rule been amended to ensure the driver has a clear view of passengers?

A number of incidents affecting the safety of passengers using rear doors highlighted the need for improvements in this area. The amendment will improve the driver's vision of passengers using the rear doors.

Emergency exits

9. Why have signage requirements been amended?

The Rule has been clarified to specify that emergency operating instructions must be displayed on, or next to, power-operated passenger entry and exit doors and dedicated emergency exits, but is not required on manually-operated entry and exit doors.

10. What changes have been made in relation to emergency signs?

The requirement has been relaxed regarding the specific wording of 'Emergency Exit' on opening instruction signs. Commercially available products that use different wording but convey the appropriate message are now able to be used.

11. What changes have been made to the Rule in relation to glass-breaking devices?

New performance requirements have been introduced that allow for devices other than the previously-specified glass-breaking hammers types to be used. This makes the Rule flexible and allows the different technologies to be used.

12. Has the space around emergency exits been changed?

If a passenger service vehicle has a rear window that is also a dedicated emergency exit, any gap between the window and the seat in front of it must be bridged by a shelf. This requirement has been relaxed so that if such a gap is less than 150 mm, a shelf is not required. A gap of less than 150 mm is not considered to be a hazard to persons using the emergency exit.

Safety design features

13. What changes have been made in relation to guard rails and partitions?

The amendment clarifies requirements for fitting partitions or guard rails in front of forward-facing seats that do not have another seat directly in front of them to protect occupants in the event of sudden deceleration. It also provides an exception to the Rule for seats fitted with seatbelts and for a seat in a heavy passenger service vehicle that is facing a longitudinal aisle.

14. What additional fire protection requirements have been added to the Rule?

The Rule now requires engines and engine compartments of heavy rear- and mid-engined passenger service vehicles to be kept clean of combustible material and well maintained in order to reduce the risk of fires starting in engine bays. It also introduces requirements for such vehicles that enter service after the amendment comes into force, to better protect batteries and their wiring from causing a fire through short-circuiting.

15. What changes does the amendment make to the storage of fire extinguishers?

In order to address the risk of theft and vandalism, the amended Rule removes the requirement for the fire extinguisher located near the driver to be visible to passengers. Passengers are alerted to the location of the fire extinguisher by appropriate signage. This enables the extinguisher to be protected from vandalism while remaining easily accessible in an emergency.

16. What has changed in relation to mass carried on the front axle?

The minimum percentage of mass carried on the front axle of heavy passenger service vehicles has been aligned with the requirement for all heavy rigid vehicles. This change was required due to newer designs of vehicle s where the weight of the vehicle is distributed differently than older vehicles.

17. What changes have been made in relation to baggage and freight?

The amendment clarifies the requirements relating to the safe containment of baggage and freight carried on passenger service vehicles. It clearly allows for alternative restraint systems to restrain baggage where there is no separate luggage compartment.

18. What change has been made to the area in passenger service vehicles set aside for pushchairs?

The Rule amendment provides that areas set aside for pushchairs are now available for other passengers when they're not required for a pushchair.

19. What change has been made in relation to the use of left-hand drive vehicles?

In order to reduce ambiguity, a new provision has been inserted into the Rule to clarify that passenger service vehicles must be right-hand drive.

Wheelchair restraints

20. What changes have been made in relation to wheelchairs?

Wheelchair restraint systems must be provided in passenger service vehicles with forward-facing wheelchair spaces and in light passenger service vehicles that are designed to transport wheelchairs with the occupant facing rearwards.

Additionally, for a passenger service vehicle that is designed to transport wheelchairs with the occupant facing backwards, a backrest head support must be provided. In heavy passenger service vehicles, it will remain optional to fit a wheelchair restraint system for rearward facing wheelchair spaces, however, where one is fitted it must comply with the requirements for restraints in the Rule.


21. What has changed in relation to Certificate of Loading requirements?

The amendment provides a simpler and more flexible option for certificate of loading requirements for operators of heavy passenger service vehicles.

The Rule previously required that the Certificate of Loading for passenger service vehicles must show the maximum number of seated passengers for the following groups: adults, secondary school pupils, intermediate school pupils and primary school pupils. However, the Rule provides the option for the loading information for light and heavy passenger service vehicles to be displayed in two categories only – adult passengers and primary- or intermediate-school pupils.

22. What changes have been made to the areas not available for standing passengers?

The amendment Rule has decreased the area available for standing passengers by excluding an area near the doors from being included in the calculation of total floor area used in the determination of the maximum number of standing passengers allowed to be carried in the vehicle.

23. What changes have been made to the method of calculating vehicle loading?

The amended Rule includes the deemed weight of a driver and any other crew of a passenger service vehicle when calculating a passenger service vehicle's maximum passenger loading to ensure that the gross vehicle mass is not exceeded when the vehicle is fully loaded.

24. What change has been made in relation to vehicles required to apply an occupant loading calculation?

Passenger service vehicles with nine or fewer seats have been excluded from the requirement to apply the occupant loading calculation.

25. What is included for vehicles with dedicated wheelchair positions?

A requirement has been added to the Rule for the weight of a wheelchair to be taken into account when calculating the maximum deemed passenger loading of passenger service vehicles that have dedicated wheelchair positions. This will reduce the risk of these vehicles exceeding safe weight limits when fully loaded. A dedicated wheelchair position is defined as a seating position that is unavailable to other passengers when not required for a wheelchair.


26. What terminology changes have been made?

The term 'certifier' has been replaced with 'vehicle inspector', and the term 'authorised' has been replaced with 'appointed'. This aligns with the current terminology in Land Transport Rule: Vehicle Standards Compliance 2002.


27. How can I obtain a copy of the amendment Rule?

A copy of the final amendment Rule will be available for purchase from selected bookshops that sell legislation, or from Wickliffe Solutions, telephone (06) 358 8231. Final rules are available on our website.

28. Where can I get more information?

More information about the Rule amendment is available from the NZTA Contact Centre, on 0800 699 000.

Page created: 5 July 2012