COVID-19 information for passenger transport industry
End of ban on surge pricing
For the purposes of Regulation 129(2) of the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020, which prohibits surge pricing in an emergency area, the whole state of Western Australia has been declared an exempt area from the State of Emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please read the CEO Department of Transport’s determination on surge pricing prohibition – Determination – exempt area in relation to emergency declaration (available below).
What does this mean for my on-demand booking service?
This means on-demand booking services can now re-commence surge pricing at times of high demand in Western Australia, even with the COVID-19 State of Emergency Declaration still being in effect.
If an emergency of a different nature (such as a flood, bush fire or major security incident) is declared within Western Australia, surge pricing in relation to that emergency will not be permitted.
Why has this decision been made?
On Sunday 15 March 2020, Western Australia was declared an emergency area due to COVID-19 under the Emergency Management Act 2005.
Under the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020, surge pricing and queue-jumping fees are not allowed when a State of Emergency has been declared for an area.
The ban on surge pricing during a State of Emergency is intended to ensure that people who are directed to leave, or are voluntarily leaving, an affected area during a serious emergency are not financially penalised by operators demanding high fares.
When Regulation 129(2) was originally enacted, the declaration of a long-term state-wide emergency, such as is in place in connection with COVID-19, was not envisaged.
|Determination – Exempt Area in Relation to Emergency Declaration||Kb|
|Public Health Act|
|Department of Justice: Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA)|
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020|
COVID-19: Health and safety for passenger transport operators
The WA Department of Health has released infection prevention and control information for public and private transport – this includes on-demand transport operators like taxis, rideshare and charter.
On-demand booking services (ODBSs) have a legislated responsibility to ensure the health and safety of drivers and passengers and may enforce different protocols to do this during this time. ODBSs should update their safety management systems to ensure they have the necessary steps in place to minimise risk to drivers and passengers.
General advice for drivers
On-demand transport drivers are advised to:
- Not attend work if feeling unwell, including cold or flu symptoms.
- Perform regular hand hygiene throughout shifts. For example, at the start and end of shifts, before and after meals and after using the toilet you should wash hands with soap and water then dry hands thoroughly or use an alcohol-based sanitiser.
- Thoroughly clean vehicles with detergent and disinfectant cleaning products/wipes – include all surfaces and pay particular attention to high touch surfaces such as handles, rails and buttons.
- Have a scheduled shampoo/steam cleaning program for vehicles with fabric seating.
- Members of the public who are suspected or known cases of COVID-19, are currently in self-quarantine after returning to WA from travel outside of the state, or who are undergoing COVID-19 testing should not be using public transport (including on-demand transport).
Physical distancing in on-demand transport
Physical distancing (ensuring there is space between you and others) is an effective way of reducing transmission of infections. Although on-demand and other passenger transport is exempt from physical distancing recommendations, drivers and passengers are still encouraged to maintain physical distancing where possible.
Transporting known/suspected cases of COVID-19 and people under self-quarantine
Private vehicles, hospital transport or a Department of Health organised transport option should be provided for patients who are required to travel from hospital to their home/hotel or hotel to home.
On-demand transport services can be used as a last resort for transportation of people with positive COVID-19 cases and those in quarantine or required to self-quarantine.
If an on-demand transport service is used for this purpose, the following measures should be observed:
- A large vehicle should be chosen where available to provide adequate space between the driver and the passenger – the passenger should sit as far away from the driver as possible.
- The driver should wear a surgical mask and take care not to touch the front of the mask once it is securely in place.
- The passenger is to wear a surgical mask.
- The passenger is to handle their own luggage and belongings wherever possible. If assistance is required, the driver should wear gloves. The gloves should be removed immediately after assisting with luggage and the driver should perform thorough hand hygiene.
- The passenger is to perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle.
- Encourage the passenger to use contactless payment options.
- Set vehicle ventilation systems to “fresh air” and open the windows slightly if appropriate.
- At the end of the journey, the driver must thoroughly clean the vehicle with detergent and disinfectant cleaning products/wipes – include all surfaces and pay particular attention to high touch surfaces such as handles, seatbelts and seats. The driver should dispose of any PPE and disposable cleaning equipment, then perform thorough hand hygiene.
For more information, read the Infection prevention and control information for public and private transport fact sheet available via the WA Department of Health website.
Visit the WA Government's COVID-19 (coronavirus) website for up to date information about COVID-19.
|WA Department of Health: COVID-19 information for business, industry and local government|
|WA Government COVID-19 (coronavirus) website|
Previous COVID-19 relief for the passenger transport industry
A range of COVID-19 relief measures were passed for the passenger transport industry in April 2020, including:
- On-demand booking service (ODBS) authorisation and passenger transport vehicle (PTV) authorisation renewal fees were waived for authorisations that were active on 9 April 2020, with renewals due on or before 31 March 2021.
- A one-off payment of $2,500 was paid in June 2020 to ODBSs that held an active ODBS authorisation and active PTV authorisation on 1 April 2020.
- The timeframe for regional and metropolitan taxi operators to install an approved type of camera surveillance unit (CSU) was extended to 1 July 2021 (previously the deadline was 2 July 2020).
All motor vehicle registration fee increases have also been frozen until at least 1 July 2021.
Fee increase freeze for motor vehicle charges
All motor vehicle registration fee increases will be frozen until at least 1 July 2021, as part of the Government’s COVID-19 economic stimulus package.
The freeze on vehicle registration fees means that vehicle registration must still be paid but the cost won't increase in July as it usually does.
Operators who own a registered motor vehicle used for passenger transport – such as a charter bus or a taxi – will not see their vehicle registration fees rise.
This means that vehicle registration fees paid as of 1 July 2020 will be the same cost as vehicle registrations fees paid in the previous financial year.
For more information, visit COVID-19: Updates for DoT customers.