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Specifications for taxis

Effective from 29 July 2016, specifications for taxi-cabs (the specifications) will only apply to wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs). The specifications will no longer apply to conventional (standard) taxis. These changes aim to reduce regulatory burden for the industry, while also retaining a focus on public safety and consumer protection.   

The new specifications supersede specifications published in the Government Gazette on 28 September 2015.

While specifications no longer apply to conventional (standard) taxis, requirements in respect to livery, security cameras and taximeters still apply.

The new WAT specifications are available in Government Gazette.

For more information on the changes to the vehicle age limits and specifications please see Removal of vehicle age limits - questions and answers.

The new WAT specifications do not impose new requirements on operators.

Background

The Department of Economic Development, in conjunction with the Taxi Services Commission (TSC), completed a review of taxi-cab regulations. The Transport (Buses, Taxi-Cabs and Other Commercial Passenger Vehicles) Regulations 2016 subsequently took effect from 27 June 2016.

The review examined whether the TSC should continue to prescribe vehicle specifications for all classes of taxi-cabs or just a particular class of taxi-cab. Analysis showed that most existing vehicle specifications were outdated, duplicated elsewhere, or were no longer relevant for modern vehicles.         

Consequently, to reduce regulatory burden for the industry but retain public safety and consumer protections, the TSC determined that specifications will apply only to WAT services, effective immediately.

Key changes

The table below details changes to the previous Specifications for Taxi-Cabs (as published in the Government Gazette of 28 September 2015).  

Item No.

Former specification requirement

Current status


Explanatory comments

1.

Definitions

Revised

The TSC has removed definitions that are no longer relevant to the new WAT specifications. 

2

Occupant Capacity

Removed

Vehicle seating capacity is recorded and administered by VicRoads. 

3.

Access (300mm aisle requirement  for people mover type vehicles)

Removed

The TSC encourages alternative motor vehicles to be used as taxis subject to compliance with the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) and standards for registration.  It is the responsibility of the taxi operator to determine their passenger needs in terms of vehicle type and seating layout etc.  The removal of this requirement provides options for taxi operators when sourcing new or second hand vehicles.

4.

Floor

Removed

This requirement for 'floors to be of sound construction with skid resistant surface' is considered no longer relevant in the context of quality levels of modern vehicles. 

5.

Occupant Comfort

(suitability to become taxi)

Removed

The TSC concludes that the market should guide vehicle choice rather than the regulator determining what vehicles are suitable or not suitable for taxi operations. Taxi operators will need to consider their vehicle and passenger needs. 

6.

Seat belts and child restraints

Partial removal

Removed for conventional taxis (anchorage points are a standard fitting in modern vehicles)

Retained for the new Specifications for Wheelchair Accessible Taxi-Cabs) document.

9.

Communication systems (dispatchers)  

Removed

Equipment installations must comply with applicable Australian Design Rules (ADRs) – head impact zone, etc. 

10.

Luggage space

Removed

The TSC concludes that operators should determine the luggage space required as part of their customer service model.

12.

Exhaust outlet (WATs only)

Removed

Onus now on taxi operators (whether exhaust outlets are re-directed for rear loading WATs)

13.

Window tinting

Removed

See VicRoads Vehicle Standards Information sheet (VSI2) – no specific requirement for taxis

14 .

Approval certificates

Removed

This requirement (vehicle modification and engineering certification) is administered by VicRoads

15.

Age limits

Removed

Vehicle age limits have been revoked.  Vehicle operating life is a matter for individual taxi operators.  (See TSC website for more details)

16.

Gas struts

Removed

Onus on taxi operators to ensure driver and passenger safety in the operation of the boot lid.

17.

Spare wheels

Removed

Onus on taxi operators to determine whether or not to have a spare wheel or use an alternative (such as a tyre repair kit).

18.

Electronic payment Facilities

Removed

The TSC concludes this requirement is no longer relevant (covered in ADRs, regulations)

Attachment 1.

ADR categories 

Removed

Administered by VicRoads (this requirement was carried over from Vehicle Standards Information Bulletin (VSI 31)

Attachment 2.

Equipment mounting limitations  

Removed

Administered by VicRoads (this requirement was carried over from VSI31 and refers to ADRs)

Enquiries can be directed to the Taxi Services Commission on telephone 1800 638 802.