How To Start A Passenger Transport Business

How To Start A Passenger Transport Business


Content in this guide

Use this guide to help you get started
  1. Licences
  2. Provincial Operating Licence Boards
  3. Permits are required
  4. Vehicle Requirements
  5. What regulations apply?

For a business to outsource staff transportation to your company, you must provide quality and reliable door-to-door shuttle transportation.

To do this you must comply with the South African transport regulations, the by-laws that affect the area in which you operate and that your business has adequate insurance cover.


Gauteng Provincial Operating Licence Board

Before you can transport passengers for gain, you need to have a Contract Operating Licence. A Contract Operating Licence is obtained from the Provincial Operating Licence Board nearest to you.

You need to complete an application with your company particulars and you have to provide the following details:

  • A copy of the contract (Reason: If the contract runs until 2016, the licence will only be issued until 2016)
  • Business registration certificate
  • Proof of insurance. (A quotation from a reputable insurance company will be accepted)
  • The type of public transport service you will be operating
  • The route particulars
  • The vehicle particulars
  • You also need to sign an affidavit stating that you have not committed a violent or serious offence or been convicted of an offence involving illegal weapons. There is a small administration fee. This licence is valid for a period of time, usually five years.

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2Provincial Operating Licence Boards

Western Cape Provincial Operating Licence Board

To find a list of Provincial Operating Licence Board offices around South Africa visit

Download the requirements for the new application for Operating License/Permit (NLTA, Act no 5 of 2009, section 54 and 62) here.

3Permits are required

Passenger Transport Business permits you may need

To be able to drive certain types of vehicles such as a passenger carrying 21-seater bus, you are required to have a professional driving permit in addition to a driving licence for the Code of vehicle that you plan to drive.

To qualify for a PDP the applicant must never have been convicted of driving under the influence, of reckless or negligent driving, of a violent offence and lastly, never had a driving licence suspended.

There are other documents that you require in order to apply for a professional drivers permit (PDP).

  • Complete form PD1
  • Pay the required fee
  • Produce your ID
  • Provide two photographs
  • Produce a valid driving licence
  • Produce a medical certificate proving good health
  • Produce proof that you do not have a criminal record
  • Show any other professional driving permit or public driving permit that you already hold.

Visit the eNaTIS website to download the forms.


In order to obtain a professional drivers permit you must contract eNaTIS who control the official register for all vehicle, driving licence, contravention and accident data and information. eNaTIS transactions are performed at provincial offices or local authorities around the country.

These transactions include all vehicle licensing, vehicle registration, driving licence applications, and contravention, accident and infrastructure transactions.

Visit the eNaTIS website for more information.

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4Vehicle Requirements

Passenger Transport Business vehicle requirements

The law requires that vehicles must be licensed annually. It is your duty as the vehicle’s owner, to ensure that the licence is renewed before it expires. If the licence is not renewed you are liable to pay late licensing penalties and arrears.

Roadworthiness of vehicles is a priority

Any vehicle operating on South African public roads must be deemed “road worthy” by an official private or public testing station. The roadworthiness test checks the following aspects of the vehicle:

  • Identification and documentation
  • Electrical systems
  • Fittings and equipment (including mirrors, safety belts etc)
  • Braking system
  • Wheels (including tyre condition)
  • Suspension and undercarriage
  • The steering is in order
  • The engine
  • Exhaust system
  • Transmission
  • Instruments
  • Vehicle dimensions.

Insurance cover is important

Other than the comprehensive motor insurance cover on vehicles, you must also include Passenger Liability Insurance. This covers you against any claims that passengers might make against your company in the unfortunate event of an accident.

Passenger Liability Insurance covers your liability against potential injury if you are in an accident while transporting passengers. The amount of cover will depend on various factors, such as the size of the vehicle, and can include roadside assistance; hire of another vehicle, etc   However, Passenger Liability Insurance is only valid if the driver is in possession of a valid PDP.

Many business insurance brokers can advise you. Not covering yourself for these liabilities could spell the end for your business should something untoward happen, so don’t risk not taking out adequate insurance cover in an attempt to save money.

It’s important to make sure that drivers are properly qualified:

A bus driver should:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be in possession of a valid PDP driver’s license
  • Be courteous, tactful and patient
  • Get along with others
  • Work well under pressure
  • Remain calm during emergencies
  • Work well without supervision
  • Be emotionally stable
  • Have good eyesight
  • Have good health and stamina.

5What regulations apply?

Transportation Board regulations in South Africa

Each Province has its own Transportation Board that considers and issues permits for the transportation of passengers/tourists/own employees.

Operating licenses for public passenger road transport services are issued in respect of the following services:

  • Tik-tuk service
  • A metered taxi service
  • Minibus taxi service
  • Bus-type service
  • Education service
  • Tourist transfer service
  • Charter service
  • Staff transportation service
  • Shuttle service
  • Courtesy bus service.

Related: How Do I Start a Transport or Logistics Business?

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