The Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016 and Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Regulation 2017 set out new requirements for providers of all point to point services. Point to point vehicles include rideshare and hire cars, taxis and tourist services.
In the 2016 Act, a hire vehicle means a motor vehicle used to provide a passenger service that is not a taxi service. It does not specifically refer to rideshare vehicles. The 2017 Regulation created two categories of service from 1 November 2017: taxi service provider and booking service provider. The organisation the rideshare driver works for is the booking service provider, eg, Uber.
Rideshare is still relatively new to the point to point industry. CTP insurers do not yet have sufficient information to accurately price the risks of ridesharing vehicles. This means rideshare owners paid the same rates as non-passenger vehicles, around $700 metropolitan.
Before 1 December 2017, taxi owners paid around $7,800 each year for their green slips. This is because taxis are almost 12 times more likely than an average passenger vehicle to make a claim on their CTP insurance. Unlike other vehicles, taxis must also have third party property damage insurance with cover of at least $5 million.
Following reforms to the NSW CTP scheme, taxi owners received in January 2018 an average refund of $1,255 for green slips bought before 1 December 2017. Most other vehicle owners receive refunds from March 2018.
Victor Dominello, Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation foreshadowed in 2016 the introduction of “dynamic pricing” of green slips for ridesharing vehicles (and taxis). Rideshare drivers would use telematics to share their data with insurers and the regulator would decide individual premiums. Drivers would pay a base premium and then make periodic top-up payments according to frequency, timing and routes.
As a result, a rideshare driver working 40 hours a week would pay about three times more than a non-passenger vehicle driver. This would bring them in line with the higher premiums paid by taxi owners. The Minister said usage-based charging for rideshare operators such as Uber, and taxis with telematics, is being developed and will be finalised soon.
Difference between rideshare and taxis
It is important to know the difference between taxis and rideshare vehicles. Customers can catch a taxi in three ways:
- Go to a taxi rank
- Wave down a taxi on the street
- Book a taxi first.
Customers of rideshare vehicles have only one way: they must book their trips first by calling or using an app. Rideshare vehicles are not permitted to have any signs, lights or markings that make them look like taxis.
- They must display a retroreflective sign, eg, Uber sticker, that shows the passenger it is a booking service
- The sign must be clearly visible from the outside, and placed on or near the back of the driver’s side of the rideshare vehicle.
Rideshare drivers must apply for a Passenger Transport Licence Code on their drivers licence. Their vehicles must be registered and safe to drive on the road, in the same way as other vehicles. Owners have to get vehicle safety inspections each year and keep a record of all maintenance and repairs. They must also:
- Manage health and safety risks
- Show correct signs and marking
- Have criminal history and driver history checks
- Be competent with handling wheelchairs etc.
All drivers carrying passengers have a demerit point threshold of 14 (13 for other drivers).
A blood alcohol content limit of 0.02 applies when providing a passenger service. The rideshare vehicle must display a sign to show it is a hire vehicle so police know this lower limit applies.
When customers book a trip in a rideshare vehicle, the booking service provider must give a fare estimate first. The estimate may be a rate per hour, rate per distance, set amount or a combination. Customers must accept this estimate before they start the trip. Mandated maximum fares for ridesharing will apply.
Since 1 February 2018, booking service providers must charge $1 plus GST for every completed booking. It will fund the $250 million compensation package for taxi plate owners. Many owners were affected by disruption to the industry caused by rideshare services, such as Uber, GoCatch and more recently, Ola and Taxify.
The passenger levy applies in the most populated parts of NSW. For example, Sydney, Dubbo, Tweed Heads, Griffith, Albury, Queanbeyan, Deniliquin, Narromine, Gilgandra, Tamworth, Narrabri, Moree, Boggabilla and Coonabarabran, Broken Hill and Wentworth.
It will not apply to the isolated, western parts of NSW, such as Balranald, Hay, Condobolin, Nyngan, Coonamble and Burren Junction.
Drivers of rideshare vehicles will use the new industry portal and driver vehicle dashboard to stay current: https://www.pointtopoint.nsw.gov.au/