In-car mentoring guidelines

A recommendation of the Taxi Industry Inquiry (TII) is that taxi industry participants should not be prohibited from undertaking 'on the job' mentoring if they wish to do so. Mentoring could directly complement other recommendations.

These guidelines are not intended to be prescriptive, however provide information on how to participate in, organise and achieve the best outcomes from a driver. These guidelines were developed through a collaborative partnership with the Victorian taxi industry facilitated by the Taxi Services Commission and aim to support industry participants in establishing and managing 'driver mentoring' activities to ensure that any mentoring activity is applied consistently across Victoria.

Information on this page

In-car taxi driver mentoring activity

Driver mentoring involves an experienced driver or operator (mentor) travelling in the taxi with the new driver (trainee), providing feedback and advice on performance, customer service and more general support. Trainees participating in a driver mentoring activity could include drivers who are newly accredited, less experienced or generally require additional training. Trainees could also be aspiring taxi drivers who are not yet accredited, however these drivers must not take control of the vehicle whilst it is being used as a taxi.

Driver mentoring enables experienced industry participants (such as drivers or operators) to share their experience and local knowledge whilst providing feedback and advice with the intention of enhancing a trainee's skills, further developing their confidence and ultimately enabling them to provide high levels of service to customers.

Who can participate in this activity?

Driver Mentoring is optional and is an individual decision for each operator. Any driver operating a taxi is able to participate in this activity, there are no additional laws or regulations that govern in-car driver mentoring.

The individual in control of the vehicle must be accredited under the Transport(Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983, as the driver of a commercial passenger vehicle available for hire or reward. The driver is required to comply with all the requirements relevant to the class of taxi being driven,including but not limited to any requirements imposed by or under:

  • the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983
  • the Road Safety Act 1986
  • regulations made under these Acts.

The accredited driver can be the mentor or the trainee driver.

General information

This section sets out things which could be considered in the process of selecting a mentor,developing a driver mentoring activity and ensuring passenger comfort. Note these recommendations are optional.

Establishing Driver Mentoring

Persons delivering or undertaking driver mentoring should ensure, as a priority, that the delivery of the activity does not adversely impact customer safety and wellbeing in any way.

It is advisable that during the development of a driver mentoring activity the following be considered:

  • The driver, operator or Booking Service Provider (BSP) delivering driver mentoring should establish its own business rules detailing under which circumstances a mentor should be used. A number of things to consider could be what period of time a mentoring session should cover, which shifts (peak or off-peak) or how many sessions a trainee may have.
  • The operator or BSP should also consider establishing processes to ensure customers are aware of, and consent to, travelling in the taxi with a mentor present. Arrangements should be made for this to occur in all hiring circumstances, irrespective of whether the taxi is booked through a BSP, private arrangement and/or privately hailed.
  • The passenger seating capacity will also be reduced during driver mentoring, so this should also be taken into account when a passenger is making a booking and when mentoring activities are being scheduled.
  • Consideration of seating capacity will assist when determining the most appropriate days/times for driver mentoring to take place. Reduced seating would also need to form part of the communications to passengers who have consented to a mentor being in the vehicle.

Choosing a Mentor

It is recommended that mentors be highly experienced competent industry participants, who work or have worked as a taxi driver, taxi operator and/or trainer. It is recommended that at the time of commencement mentors have a minimum of five years continuous experience. This will ensure mentors are appropriately skilled and equipped to pass on their knowledge.

In order to ensure mentors are clearly identifiable by passengers it is advised that mentors wear suitable and professional attire clearly identifying their role as mentor to any customers. This identifying attire may be specified by the operator of the taxi. Examples could include an identification badge, uniform or high visibility vest.

Obtaining Passenger Consent

It is good practice that passenger consent be obtained prior to any journey in which a trainee/mentor will be in the vehicle. This consent should be sought from the passenger at the booking stage or prior to commencing a rank and hail journey.

This will ensure that customers are comfortable hiring a taxi where an additional person (the mentor) is present.

It is recommended that the operator of the taxi approve any mentors,and that only those approved mentors be carried in the taxi with the trainee and passengers. It is also recommended that the mentor maintain a professional interaction with the driver and the customer at all times.

Other considerations

Signage

A operator may choose to display signage externally on their taxi when it is being used for driver mentoring purposes. This would assist in informing passengers of the mentoring activity, minimise any confusion, prevent any possible disputes over fares and advertise that their company is actively ensuring driver standards and quality are high.

Signage, if used, should be displayed by affixing a sign on each front door (or front quarter panel). The labels should be:

  • removed at the end of the mentoring activity;
  • fitted to each side of the vehicle but must not obstruct other standard taxi decals; and
  • replaced if their condition deteriorates, in order to ensure they are understood by customers.

Fares

Any accredited driver participating in this activity as a trainee retains their regular share of the fare box as per the driver agreement. The implied conditions of the driver agreement cannot be impacted by driver mentoring and a driver's takings should not be discounted due to undertaking driver mentoring.

Any money paid to the mentor is a separate agreement.

Standard fares apply when carrying passengers. Passengers are not to be charged fares in excess of the regulated fare due to the presence of a mentor in a taxi as part of the driver mentor activity. The mentor is not considered a passenger.

Vehicle requirements

Taxis used for driver mentoring are required to meet Taxi Services Commission licensing requirements, however, there is no requirement for the vehicle to possess or install dual controls.

Insurance

Before engaging in the mentoring activity the operator should check with their insurance service provider, and with any other relevant body, such as the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) or WorkSafe Victoria, to confirm that they have the appropriate level of insurance cover.

Further information

If you are interested in learning more about successful driver mentoring activities operating throughout Victoria, please contact the Victorian Taxi Association.