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 taxis and hire cars, rideshare and tourist services.
The 2017 Regulation created two categories of service from 1 November 2017: taxi service provider and booking service provider. Taxi owners must register as taxi service providers and booking service providers, unless automatically registered under the old scheme.
Before 1 December 2017, taxi owners paid around $7,800 each year for their green slips. Taxis are almost 12 times more likely than an average passenger vehicle to make a claim on their CTP insurance. Unlike other vehicles, taxis also have to be covered by third party property damage insurance with cover of at least $5 million.
As a result of reforms to the NSW CTP scheme that lowered premiums, taxi owners received large refunds. In January 2018, they received an average refund of $1,255 for green slips bought before 1 December 2017.
Usage-based CTP charging started on 1 April 2018. Taxi operators had two options: pay per kilometre and fixed premium.
Pay per kilometre
Taxi operators pay the first instalment when their CTP policy begins. Every 4 months (6 months for country plates), they lodge an odometer reading. The next instalment was adjusted based on the distance travelled in the previous period. Premiums were:
- Based on a rate of 5 cents per kilometre for taxi plates
- Based on a rate of 3.3 cents per kilometre for taxi country plates
- Capped at 107,000 kilometres per year.
Taxi operators pay the full annual premium as they do now. Taxis that travel over 107,000 kilometres per year may prefer this option.
New CTP options
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) has been seeking comment on five options for CTP for the point to point industry. Current transitional arrangements expired on 1 December 2020. A new way of calculating CTP for taxi owners is expected soon.
Safety standards for taxis
Taxis must be registered and safe to drive on the road, in the same way as other vehicles. They also have to get vehicle safety inspections each year and keep a record of all maintenance and repairs. Taxi service drivers must:
- Manage health and safety risks
- Show correct signs and marking
- Use valid fare calculation and alarm devices
- Be competent with handling wheelchairs etc.
All professional drivers have a demerit point threshold of 14 (the usual is 13).
A blood alcohol content limit of 0.02 applies when providing a passenger service. The taxi must display a sign to show it is a hire vehicle so police know this limit applies. Some service providers may even require a zero alcohol limit.
Difference between taxis and rideshare
It is important to know the difference between taxis and rideshare. Customers are able to take 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.
As only taxis can use taxi ranks or be waved down in the street, they must have clear identification:
- Taxis doing unbooked work must have a sign saying TAXI with a roof light that can be seen from 40m away and turned on only when available
- Taxis doing booked work must be clearly identified as a taxi, with logo, contact details and name of authorised taxi service provider.
Since 1 November 2017, most taxi fares have been deregulated.
Taxi booking companies are free to set their own fares and offer, for example, frequent rider or other discounts. Customers of taxi services can also pre-pay their fares.
Maximum fares for rank and hail services and booked fares for Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) customers will stay regulated. The TTSS is designed for people unable to use public transport because of a severe and permanent disability and they pay half fare.
Owners of taxi services had 12 months to comply with new rules for fare calculation devices.
Since 1 February 2018, the cost of taxi trips has increased by $1.10 to fund the $250 million compensation package for taxi plate owners. It lasts 5 years and is designed to compensate them for disruption in the industry caused by new rideshare services, such as Uber.
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 does not apply to more isolated, western parts of NSW, such as Balranald, Hay, Condobolin, Nyngan, Coonamble and Burren Junction.
Go to the new industry portal and driver vehicle dashboard for point to point vehicles.