Summary of new regulations changes

On 26 June 2017 the Transport (Taxi-Cabs, Buses and Other Commercial Passenger Vehicles) (Taxi-Cab Industry Accreditation and Other Matters) Regulations 2017 came into effect. 

The key changes between these new regulations and those previously in force are outlined below.

Driver responsibilities

Driver's identity

The Taxi Services Commission (the Commission) can now provide a digitised version of a driver identity card. Taxi drivers can show their identification through electronic means (and not just by way of an identity card), so long as it is clearly visible at all times.  

Hire car drivers are not subject to this requirement.

Driver health

Drivers no longer need to pass the former vision acuity test to be accredited to drive a commercial passenger vehicle. 

The Commission must still be satisfied that a commercial passenger vehicle driver is 'sufficiently fit and healthy to provide the services' before an accreditation is granted.

This is to be assessed by reference to a registered medical practitioner conducting a health check, in accordance with the National Assessing Fitness to Drive Guidelines 2016

Carrying animals

The requirement to carry assistance animals is extended to all commercial passenger vehicles.  A driver must carry an assistance animal.

The requirement for a driver to carry an animal, other than an assistance animal, to a veterinary practitioner for treatment is removed. The driver, however, still has discretion to carry the animal in their vehicle.

Carrying passengers to hospital

A driver must take a passenger to hospital, even if the request is outside the 'destination' sign zone. 

Passenger behaviour

Passengers smoking

The prohibition on a person smoking is extended to all persons in a commercial passenger vehicle.

Drivers refusing fares

A driver may refuse to take a passenger if the person is not going to, or being taken to a hospital, and the driver is of the opinion that:

  • the person is violent, noisy, misbehaving, filthy or offensive; the person has an item that cannot be safely and securely accommodated; or
  • the request is outside the 'destination' sign zone.

Vehicle safety

Vehicle appearance

The Commission can require all commercial passenger vehicle operators and drivers to attach number plates, signs, symbols, notices or labels. 

Rectification notices

The Commission can serve a rectification notice on all commercial passenger vehicles. The person served with the notice must not operate the vehicle as a commercial passenger vehicle until the matters have been rectified and the vehicle has been inspected by an appropriate person. 

That means a vehicle may be driven away, but it cannot be used to carry passengers for hire or reward, until all matters have been rectified and the vehicle inspected.

Fares and charges

There is a new penalty for charging or asking for payment of a fare or additional charges that are in excess of the maximum fare or hiring rates submitted to the Commission, for taxis licensed to operate in the Regional or Country zones. The penalty is up to 10 penalty units ($1,585.70).

There are no exceptions to maximum fares.