Types of commercial passenger vehicles

Courtesy vehicles

A courtesy vehicle is offered as part of an agreement for the provision of accommodation or activities and provided to passengers without payment of a fare.Drivers must hold a Commercial Passenger Vehicle Identification Card and are not allowed to approach people to hire the vehicle or stand for hire.


A minibus can carry between nine and 15 passengers.  

Operators must comply with the Northern Territory minibus requirements and in-service maintenance standards (177.4 kb).

Operators must have an approved security camera system fitted to the minibus.

A minibus can stand for hire in minibus ranks.  A minibus can respond to hails, for example, if a customer waves you down from the footpath you can pull over and pick that person up providing it is safe to do so.

Motor omnibus

A motor omnibus can carry more than eight passengers.

Operators must comply with the Northern Territory passenger bus regulation in-service maintenance standards (357.8 kb).

A motor omnibus is generally used for pre-booked charter work or as a route service bus. It can't stand or ply for hire and respond to hail and ride requests. 

Private hire car and limousines

A private hire car or limousine can carry up to eight passengers and must meet the Northern Territory private hire car and limousine in-service maintenance standards (251.3 kb).

A limousine can only be hired if it has been pre-booked.

A private hire car can only be hired if it has been pre-booked or hired from an approved private hire car rank. 

The approved ranks are:

  • Northern Territory airport arrivals
  • Ghan passenger train arrivals and passenger terminals
  • V8 Supercars at Hidden Valley
  • Alice Springs, Darwin, Katherine and Tennant Creek shows at the showgrounds
  • international cricket matches in the NT
  • horse race meetings sanctioned by the NT Racing Commission in Alice Springs and Darwin
  • Bass in the Grass in Darwin, Bass in the Dust in Alice Springs
  • International or Australian premier sporting events at Marrara Sporting Complex, Anzac Oval or Traeger Park
  • Lasseters Hotel Casino Alice Springs and SkyCity Darwin
  • Masters Games opening ceremony Alice Springs
  • any major event at Anzac Oval or Blatherskite Park
  • Darwin Convention Centre events
  • Port of Darwin, Darwin Cruise Ship terminal.

Private hire car drivers must only use an approved communications device. Drivers must return to an approved base when finishing each job.

Private hire car operators can display an approved 'VACANT' sign in or on their vehicles at airport ranks and railway stations in Darwin and Alice Springs only.

Operators have a choice of two custom-made signs: black text on a white background or white text on a black background.

Special function vehicle

A special function vehicle is of distinctive or unusual make, model or appearance.

A special function vehicle can only be hired if it is pre-booked or is for an approved event such as any of the following:

  • weddings
  • funerals
  • formal or graduation ceremonies
  • national significant events including Anzac Day.

Special function vehicles must meet the Northern Territory special function vehicle requirements and in-service maintenance standards (151.0 kb).

Special passenger vehicle

A special passenger vehicle is operated for a purpose that does not fall into any other category of commercial passenger vehicle.

The proposed service and vehicle suitability will have to be individually assessed by the MVR, for example, modified vehicles, limited operating areas and times.

Drivers are not permitted to ask people to hire their vehicle or stand for hire. The vehicle must be returned to its base of operation when the journey is finished.


A taxi is a vehicle that carries up to 15 passengers. It can stand for hire in designated taxi ranks and also respond to hails.

Taxis cannot operate within an area that is not specified in the taxi licence. Taxis must have a certified meter, approved security camera system and braille labels fitted to the vehicle.

Operators must comply with the Northern Territory taxi in-service maintenance standards (645.7 kb).

Tourist vehicle

A tourist vehicle is typically a four-wheel drive, van or motorcycle.

Tourist vehicles must operate in one of the following:

  • outside a council area for pre-arranged bookings
  • within a council area as part of a tour package
  • within a council area for a type of pre-approved tour.

More than one tourist vehicle can be registered under a commercial vehicle licence.

In the event of a breakdown while on tour, a vehicle of a similar type to the primary vehicle may be used for up to four days only to complete the tour.

Tourist vehicle operators must not:

  • do airport transfers unless it's a part of the overall tour package
  • conduct or advertise tours for a fare calculated by distance.

Operators must comply with the Northern Territory tourist vehicle in-service maintenance standards (162.7 kb).

Last updated: 27 June 2017