If you drive a taxi or hire out your vehicle for rideshare, learn the new rules that apply in NSW from 1 November 2017.
The NSW government has published the final Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Regulation 2017. The regulation sets out new requirements for providers of all point to point services. By this, it means all taxis, hire cars, rideshare and tourist services.
There are now two categories of point to point service:
- Taxi service providers
- Booking service providers.
Remember: only taxis can pick up passengers from taxi ranks or can be waved down in the street by passengers. A taxi service must also register as a booking service so it can take bookings as well as pick up on the street.
Customers of rideshare vehicles have to book using an app or over the phone. They cannot wave down rideshare services on the street.
Safety features are now as important for rideshare vehicles as for traditional services. If you use your vehicle for rideshare, it must be roadworthy. You will need to have criminal history and driver history checks and be aware of risks to health and safety. Look out for an education campaign about putting safety first.
When customers book a trip, you must give them a fare estimate. It may be a rate per hour, rate per distance, set amount or a combination. Customers of taxi services can also pre-pay their fares throughout NSW. Meanwhile, owners of taxi services have 12 months to ensure their fare calculation devices comply with new rules.
Passenger Service Levy
Providers of all point to point services must pay a $1 levy per trip, to raise $250 million for the industry adjustment assistance package. It takes effect from February 2018 and lasts for no more than 5 years – or less if the money is raised before then.
Service providers can decide whether or not to pass on this levy to customers. If they do, customers will pay GST on top. Certain very small services will be able to get rebates on this levy.
Transport for NSW consulted with many interested parties and made some changes to the draft regulation. Some of these are:
- Taxi owners outside Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong or Central Coast can now decide whether or not to fit security cameras
- Drivers need not display the name and logo of the taxi service, which means they can use the same ID when driving for different taxi providers
- The new list of disqualifying offences is shorter and more relevant to people driving a passenger vehicle.
Under other regulations, all professional drivers of point to point vehicles now have a demerit point threshold of 14 (the usual is 13) and must get vehicle safety inspections each year.
Owners of hire vehicles currently pay much more for their green slips than owners of rideshare vehicles. The regulation made minor changes to required insurance coverage and directed all CTP insurance matters to State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA).
SIRA has been working hard to reform the NSW CTP scheme. Motor Accidents Injuries Act 2017, due to commence in December 2017, includes widespread changes to CTP insurance. As a result, the government expects premiums for taxis to almost halve.