A Snow service for the Dunedin bus system could be provided by a "Dunedin Volunteer Four-wheel-drive Transport Corps" of 4WD owner-drivers who operate bus routes that are closed to buses due to weather.
Very strict legal requirements define how this could work, detailed on this NZTA web page:
The full legislation:
How it would workEdit
Option 1: set up a charitable organisationEdit
A charitable organisation would be a straightforward way of legally transporting people using non-professional drivers in normal private vehicles. Passengers would make a contribution to running costs (which would be collected and pooled by the organisation) and owners would be reimbursed for running costs/wear and tear only according to the rules. It must be absolutely clear that drivers would not be "paid" in any way for driving, neither would vehicle owners receive any "hire or reward" for use of their vehicles.
Here is the exemption from passenger transport service rules that would apply:
Passenger services operated by or under the control of a district health board, local authority, an incorporated charitable organisation, or an incorporated organisation registered under the Charities Act 2005 where:
*the vehicles used are designed or adapted to carry 12 or fewer persons (including the driver); and
*the vehicle used is provided by the organisation or the driver; and
*the driver is either a volunteer or a staff member of the organisation whose primary responsibility is not driving; and
*the only payments made by the organisation to a driver who provides the vehicle is for reimbursing the organisation or the driver for the running cost of the vehicle and does not include payment for the driver's service; and
*the only payment made by the passenger is for reimbursing the organisation or the driver for the running cost of the vehicle, and does not include payment for the driver's service. (NZTA; see above link)
Could use the Inland Revenue rules for calculating milage rates:
either a standard rate of 77 cents/km
or costs provided by a reputable source, such as AA:
or "actual costs" which IRD allows but you have to follow their documented means of calculating them.
Option 2: operate as a car poolEdit
Operating as a car pool would also appear to be legal. Passengers would make a contribution to running costs directly to owners for running costs/wear and tear only according to the rules. In this option it is important that passengers do not contribute "too much" as the amount contributed defines whether the service is a car pool or a money making venture. The NZTA and Police have a track record of "going after" people who flout this rule. Once again, it must be absolutely clear that drivers would not be "paid" in any way for driving, neither would vehicle owners receive any "hire or reward" for use of their vehicles.
car pooling under a cost-sharing arrangement between occupants of a vehicle designed or adapted to carry 12 or fewer persons (including the driver) – cost-sharing arrangement includes fuel costs and wear and tear of a vehicle (NZTA; see above link)
Using this loophole seems a bit dodgy. Maybe OK to operate under this rule as a trial of the concept.