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Removal of vehicle age limits - questions and answers

Why is the TSC removing vehicle age limits?

The decision to remove vehicle age limits is based on research carried out by the Monash University Accident and Research Centre (MUARC). 

The TSC engaged MUARC to undertake research into whether existing taxi and hire car age limits were appropriate and the implications between age limits and safety.

Research found, among other things, that:

  • imposing age limits (as a single option) to determine the operating life of a vehicle may not be the most effective policy setting
  • there is no clear relationship between the age of a vehicle and its crash risk
  • safety performance over the life of a vehicle is more closely linked with the type/safety features of the vehicle

Does the removal of age limits apply to all taxis and hire cars?

Yes, vehicle age limits no longer apply to all taxis operating in all zones (metropolitan, urban, regional and country) and all hire cars operating in the metropolitan and country zones.

With no vehicle age limits, when will I have to replace my taxi/hire car?

Deciding when to replace a taxi/hire car is now a business decision for the operator.

Many factors may influence an operator's decision including:

  • the condition of the vehicle
  • their customer needs
  • maintenance costs, and
  • resale value of the existing vehicle.

Has the 2.5 year entry age limit (Metropolitan and Urban taxis only) been removed as well?

Yes. Entry age limits no longer apply.

Have age limits for wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs) been removed as well?

Yes. The previous 10.5 year maximum operating age limit for WATs no longer applies.

Do other standards or specifications still apply to the operation of WATs

Yes, specifications to ensure the safety of WAT services continue to apply.  These specifications relate primarily to the wheelchair and occupant restraint systems, and the allocated floor space for wheelchairs as set out in the Federal Government's Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT).    

In the case of vehicles being converted to carry wheelchairs, a VASS report is still required.to confirm that the vehicle continues to meet the Australian Design Rules and other standards.

Do I still have to have my vehicle inspected?

Yes, taxis and hire cars must be inspected annually by a Licensed Vehicle Tester (taxi) and operators must retain the certificate of roadworthiness. An inspection label must be affixed to the windscreen. 

Special purpose vehicles (SVs) must be inspected annually, while restricted hire vehicles (RHs) must be inspected every 24 months.

What requirements do vehicles need to meet now to become a taxi or hire car?

All vehicles proposed to operate as taxis or hire cars in Victoria must:

  1. be compliant with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and meet the standards for registration; and
  2. meet the passenger seating capacity requirements that apply to the class/category of vehicle.

Removing age limits and type requirements gives operators greater choice in selecting a vehicle that meets the needs of their customers. 

Will the decision to remove age limits for hire cars also impact on Special Purpose Vehicles (SVs)?

Under Special Purpose Vehicle (SV) licence conditions, any SV vehicle that met the now obsolete "Age and Type Requirements for Hire Cars", had to display signage to enhance that vehicle's identification as an SV vehicle. 

Effective immediately, the TSC exempts all affected SV vehicles from this licence condition until a formal variation of SV licence conditions is completed.

SV licence holders may elect to maintain signage of this type on their vehicles. 

Without the Age and Type Requirements for hire cars, how is this expected to impact the industry? 

The regulation of the hire car industry continues to change. In December 2013, a non-luxury hire car category was introduced which encourages a broader range of vehicles into the hire car market.

The removal of the Age and Type Requirements for Hire Cars means that operators have more flexibility in selecting vehicles to operate as hire cars and will be in a better position to manage their business.

Of course, some operators may continue, as part of their established business model, to purchase and operate vehicles that provide a higher level of luxury and presentation to their customer base. 

Operators will need to consider their needs, and their customer needs, in selecting a vehicle that is capable of providing commercial passenger vehicles services in a competitive environment.       

What is the outcome from the recent regulation review conducted by the Department of Economic Development, in conjunction with the TSC?

On 26 June 2016 the new Transport (Buses, Taxi-Cabs and Other Commercial Passenger Vehicles) Regulations 2016  came into effect. These new Regulations simply 'roll over' the current Regulations with minimal changes, apart from numbering.

The 'roll over' Regulations have been put in place to allow the TSC and the Department of Economic Development to work through the submissions made in the Regulatory Impact Assessment process recently undergone in relation to the proposed 'new' Regulations.

 It is expected that 'new' Regulations with more significant changes will be made within the next 6-12 months.