Booking services and your taxi

Sections of the Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Act 2017 relating to commercial passenger vehicle licences are now law. Information about the changes is available on the Industry reforms page.

The below information may be out of date as this page is currently under review.

Advice for operators

A number of amendments to the Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (the Act) and the associated regulations took effect from 30 June 2014. Among these amendments was a range of changes that give operators more flexibility in accessing network services.

Traditionally, in Victoria, each taxi has been 'affiliated' with an organisation known as a Network Service Provider now referred to as Booking Service Provider.

Changes to the Act now support alternatives to the traditional 'affiliation' arrangement. The TSC encourages operators to consider the options and obligations outlined below when making decisions about the agreements they enter into for the provision of network services to their licensed vehicles.

Information on this page

Taking bookings

The Taxi Services Commission (TSC) believes that customers should have the broadest possible range of options when choosing how to book a taxi.

An operator may decide to subscribe to one (or more than one) of the booking dispatch services provided by established Booking Service Providers.

Operators are permitted to set up their own booking services, and advertise a booking number, web address or other contact method.

If an operator is providing bookings only to their own vehicles, no further permit is needed. If the operator wishes to expand their booking service to provide bookings to vehicles owned by other operators, they will require a Booking Service Provider accreditation.

If a person already holds accreditation to operate taxis, obtaining a Booking Service Provider accreditation is a straightforward process.

An operator may also decide that their vehicles will not be linked to any booking system at all, and will rely solely on customers at taxi ranks or who hail the taxi from the street.

Drivers are permitted to take bookings directly from passengers*. The TSC does not prevent drivers entering into arrangements with Booking Service Providers independently of the operators whose taxis they drive.

*Drivers must only use mobile phones or other devices in a manner that complies with the Road Safety Road Rules 2017.

Global Positioning System (GPS)

All taxis in the Melbourne Metropolitan Zone must be fitted with a functioning GPS tracking system. The TSC understands that many taxis outside the Melbourne Metropolitan Zone are also fitted with a GPS tracking system in connection with a booking dispatch system.

An operator of taxis in the Melbourne Metropolitan Zone must either subscribe those taxis to a GPS tracking service provided by a Booking Service Provider, or arrange for an alternative GPS service to monitor their vehicles.

An operator must notify the TSC of any change to the provider of GPS services to a vehicle.

Emergency warning system

All taxis must be fitted with an emergency warning system. In metropolitan and urban taxis, activating this system must open a back-to-base audio channel.

If an operator decides not to subscribe their taxis to an emergency warning system provided by a Booking Service Provider, then that operator must arrange for an alternative emergency warning system to be available in their vehicles.

The TSC strongly recommends that any alternative emergency warning systems are obtained through a security business registered in Victoria under the Private Security Act 2004.

An operator must notify the TSC of any change to the provider of the emergency warning system to a vehicle.

Handling complaints

All operators must ensure that all complaints in relation to the operation of their taxis are investigated promptly, and that action is taken to adequately address each complaint.

The TSC understands that many operators will engage a Booking Service Provider to provide complaints handling services on their behalf.

If an operator decides not to subscribe to a complaints handling service provided by a Booking Service Provider, then that operator must arrange for an alternative complaints handling service to be provided to customers. The alternative complaints handling service may be provided by the operator themselves, or by another agency.

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:

a) the name or trading name and contact number of a Booking Service Provider that provides booking services to that vehicle, or

b) the name or trading name and contact number of the operator.

Taxis outside the Melbourne Metropolitan Zone may be painted in the operator's choice of colour.

While taxis in the Melbourne Metropolitan Zone are 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:

a) the name or trading name of a Booking Service Provider that provides booking services to that vehicle, or

b) the name or trading name of the operator.

Keeping and submitting records

All operators are required to keep the records specified in Schedule 1 of the Transport (Taxi-Cab Industry Accreditation) Regulations 2007. The Schedule includes records relating to times the vehicle was operated, the drivers that were engaged, the revenue earned and costs incurred, any faults or damage identified in the vehicle, repairs to the vehicle, any complaints received, and any action taken in response to complaints.

For examples of the type of records to keep, refer to Operator requirements to keep records.

Operators of taxis in the Melbourne Metropolitan Zone must also ensure that the system data and travel data recorded by the vehicle's GPS tracking system are kept.

The TSC understands that many operators will engage a Booking Service Provider to maintain these GPS records on their behalf.

If an operator decides not to subscribe to a GPS monitoring service provided by a Booking Service Provider, then that operator must arrange an alternative method for ensuring that these records are kept.

Further support

The TSC cannotprovide advice on:

a) which service providers to enter into agreements with, or

b) how to negotiate or comply with provisions of any agreement you enter into with a service provider.

The TSC can provide advice on how to best ensure that you are complying with your regulatory obligations. To discuss the regulatory obligations that apply to you as an operator, please contact the TSC.