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Network Service Providers

The Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017 passed through the Victorian parliament on 10 August 2017. Information about the changes is available on the Industry reforms page.

As these changes will be taking effect in stages, low cost licences are not yet available to purchase.

Until further notice, existing licensing and assignment arrangements will continue to apply.

Network Service Providers (NSP) facilitate taxi bookings by passengers. Passengers can make bookings on the phone through mobile applications and online.

Once a passenger makes a booking with an NSP, the NSP dispatches a vehicle to the passenger.

Operators and individual drivers have the choice to subscribe to one (or more than one) NSP. The more services a driver subscribes to, the greater the opportunity to receive bookings.

Operators can set up their own booking services, including advertising a booking number, web address or other contact method.

Drivers can take bookings directly from passengers.

Information on this page:

What is a taxi Network Service Provider?

A taxi Network Service means the:

  • receipt and dispatch of bookings or orders for the hiring of taxis, or
  • provision for taxis of a central communications system.

Who needs a Network Service Provider accreditation?

An accredited operator is able to provide network services for taxis that they operate. However, if you want to provide network services for taxis you do not operate, you will need to apply to the TSC for Network Service Provider (NSP) accreditation.

Example 1

John is an accredited operator. He owns and operates one taxi, M1234, and is also the assignee and operator of a second taxi, M5678.

John does not need any additional accreditation to provide Network Services for taxis M1234 and M5678.

Example 2

Jane operates taxis M2323 and M4545. Jane asks John to provide Network Services for her taxis as well. John will need NSP accreditation to do so.

What are the mandatory requirements of a Network Service Provider?

As well as facilitating bookings for passengers, a Network Service Provider must have the following:

  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Emergency warning system
  • Complaints handling
  • Record keeping.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

All metropolitan taxis must be fitted with a functioning GPS tracking system. The TSC understands that many non-metropolitan taxis are also fitted with a GPS tracking system.

While it is often the case that operators will source their GPS tracking services and booking dispatch services from the same provider as a 'package', this is not a requirement. Operators may source their GPS tracking services from other providers if they wish.

Taxis that are supplied with bookings from more than one booking service do not need to be connected to more than one GPS tracking system.

Emergency warning system

All taxis must be fitted with an approved emergency warning device.

While it is often the case that operators will source their emergency warning system response services and booking dispatch services from the same provider as a 'package', this is not a requirement. Operators may source their emergency warning system response services from other providers if they wish.

Taxis that are supplied with bookings from more than one booking service do not need to be connected to more than one emergency warning response system.

Complaints handling service

All Network Service Providers (NSP) must ensure that all complaints in relation to their services are investigated promptly, and that action is taken to adequately address each complaint.

The TSC understands that many operators will also engage a NSP to provide a complaints handling service on their behalf, in relation to the operation of those operators' taxis. NSPs must also ensure that these complaints are investigated promptly, and that action is taken to adequately address each complaint.

The complaints handling service operated by a NSP must be consistent with AS ISO 10002–2006.

The name and contact number of the complaints handling service should be included on the feedback label fitted in the vehicle.

Vehicle branding

A taxi must display on its exterior either:

  • the name or trading name and contact number of a Network Service Provider (NSP) that provides booking services to that vehicle, or
  • the name or trading name and contact number of the operator.

Non-metropolitan taxis may be painted in the operator's choice of colour.

While metropolitan taxis are generally required to be painted in Victorian Taxi Yellow, operators representing a group of five or more taxis may apply to the TSC for an exemption to this requirement.

Drivers' uniforms may identify either the name or trading name of:

  • a NSP that provides booking services to that vehicle, or
  • the name or trading name of the operator.

The choice of an operator to source bookings from a NSP does not automatically require the operator's vehicles to display that NSP's branding. Any such branding requirements depend on the contents of the service contract entered into.

Keeping and submitting records

Network Service Providers (NSP) are required to keep the records specified in Schedule 2 or 3 of the Transport (Taxi Industry Accreditation) Regulations 2007.

The Schedules include records relating to booking details; the offer, acceptance, and completion of bookings; and any system failures.

Please refer to the Schedule for the complete list of record keeping requirements.

The TSC understands that many operators will also engage a NSP to keep records on their behalf.

The TSC may require that any of the records referred to above are provided to the TSC upon request.

Forms

Applicants wanting to apply for Network Service Provider accreditation as a legal partnership also need to complete a statutory declaration:

Customer Charter

With increasing competition in the taxi industry, those who focus on the customer experience may have a competitive edge. The TSC, in conjunction with the industry and various community stakeholders (including disability groups), has subsequently developed a new Customer Charter as a model for the taxi industry.

The Charter focuses on the key elements of safety, service, accessibility and feedback/complaints. Although not currently mandatory across the industry, taxi operators or those providing taxi booking services (network service providers), in particular are encouraged to implement this – on their website, on booking applications, for display in taxis or in driver education exercises.

For more information view the Customer Charter page and accompanying guide to the 'new' Taxi Industry Customer Charter.

Code of Conduct

As part of the implementation of the government's taxi and hire car reform agenda, the TSC was tasked with encouraging industry self regulation where appropriate to achieve its objectives and assist in the development of industry codes of conduct. Accordingly, the TSC has created a code of conduct template and user guide which outlines the purpose and benefits of implementing a code of conduct for the industry.

For more information and to access the template go to the Code of Conduct page.

The TSC acknowledges that a number of Network Service Providers (NSPs) have existing codes of conduct which stipulate the working arrangement between NSPs and drivers.  However these types of network 'codes of conduct' are much broader in nature than the TSC's proposed template. It should be noted that a code of conduct document does not need to be complex or have elaborate policies, but should form a simple basis of what an organisation expects of relevant individuals.

Use of the TSC's code of conduct template is not a mandatory requirement at this stage, however relevant industry participants are being strongly encouraged to develop a code of conduct or review their existing codes – in line with the information being provided or in response to changes/increased competition emerging within the taxi and hire car sectors.

It is hoped by creating appropriate tools for the industry, that this will empower relevant participants (in particular NSPs/booking service providers) to develop effective codes of conduct which:

  • focuses on best practice
  • increases community confidence
  • ensures a commitment to quality and consistency
  • generates better outcomes for the customer
  • improves driver knowledge and awareness
  • increases industry ownership and responsibility for the provision of services.