Service registration information

All aspects of passenger service licensing, notification and registration are covered by the Public Transport Management Act 2008 (the Act).

A passenger service licence is required before a service can operate. Under the Act, anyone who can satisfy the Secretary for Transport that they are “fit and proper” persons will be eligible for a licence to operate any passenger service. A register of transport services helps us plan public transport within our Region and determine where we may wish to fill gaps with contracted services. The register is available to the public, free of charge or at a reasonable charge, during normal office hours, from our office in Palmerston North.


 Who needs to register?

The Public Transport Management Act 2008 requires every person who proposes to operate a passenger service to notify the appropriate regional council no later than 35 working days (or as specified in our Regional Passenger Transport Plan) before the service is to commence. Any long-distance service provider that picks up or sets down passengers within a region is required to register in that region.

It is an offence carrying a maximum fine of $30,000 (first offence) under section 57 of the Public Transport Management Act 2008 for any passenger service licence holder to operate a service that has not been registered. Registered services must be operated unless there is “reasonable excuse”.

To confirm if your services operate within our Region, please see our map.

Registration is not required where the service:

  • does not pick up or set down passengers within the region
  • is not available to the public generally
  • is a charter of a large passenger service vehicle.+

 The registration process


Intending operators of commercial passenger transport services in the Manawatu-Wanganui region are required to complete the appropriate registration forms (these forms can be downloaded below). Completed forms should be returned to us with a copy of their Passenger Service Licence, at least 35 working days before the service is due to commence, or as specified in the relevant regional public transport plan.

There is no cost involved with registering a passenger transport service.

Acceptance of registration

We will register a passenger service within 30 working days of receiving the application if the service is accepted. In cases where the registration is declined, we will:

  • notify the person seeking registration within 15 working days of receiving the application that we intend to decline the registration, along with the grounds for the decision and the operators right to appeal under section 52 of the Act; and
  • give the operator an opportunity to make a written submission and be heard (if the operator wishes)

What happens if my registration is declined?

We may decline registration of a service only where it:

  • is likely to have a material adverse effect on the financial viability of a contracted service. If, in our opinion, the existence of the proposed service would cause an existing contracted service a loss in revenue; for example, operators of net type contracts are paid a set tendered amount based on the difference between the cost and the estimated revenue of a service. Any proposed service that competes for passenger fares will affect the financial viability of the contracted operator; or
  • is likely to increase the cost to Horizons Regional Council of a contracted service; e.g. gross contracts are based on Horizons Regional Council receiving the passenger fares and paying the operator the difference between the cost of the service and the revenue received. Any proposed service that competes for passenger fares will result in less revenue and therefore increase the cost to Horizons Regional Council; or
  • is contrary to sound traffic management or any other environmental factors identified by us as being important to our region. Registration of additional services with similar timetables/routes may result in traffic management problems (e.g. jostling for bus stops). Where the traffic management problems are clearly identified and considered significant, Horizons may, after seeking advice from the relevant road controlling authority, decline the registration.  In terms of environmental factors, we consider buses that are of poor appearance, or are noisy or emit obvious diesel smoke may be environmentally unacceptable, when compared against the standard required for buses on contracted services.

Where we decline any registration or variation of a registration, the operator may appeal to the District Court within 20 working days of receiving the decision. The District Court may confirm, vary or reverse the decision, or may refer the matter back for reconsideration.

Making changes to your registration in future

An operator must give us at least 35 workings days notice of their intention to abandon or vary a registered service. We may reduce or waive the notice period. As with a new service, we have 30 workings days within which to either change, withdraw or decline the registration.

 Registration forms for Commercial Service Providers

Apply to register a scheduled commercial passenger service

Apply to register a non-scheduled commercial passenger service

Apply to vary a commercial service registration

Application to withdraw a commercial service