COVID-19: Updates on Department of Transport services

COVID-19 relief for passenger transport industry

The Department of Transport has announced several measures to provide immediate financial relief to the passenger transport industry, to ease the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  On-demand booking service (ODBS) authorisation fee waiver

All on-demand booking service (ODBS) authorisation renewal fees have been waived for renewals due on or before 31 March 2021.

Booking services who had already paid their ODBS authorisation renewal this year will have the fee waiver applied to their ODBS authorisation renewal in 2021.

Authorisation fees for regional taxi booking services are already waived until 2022 – these waivers will continue to be applied.

The fee waiver does not apply to applications for new ODBS authorisations that have been lodged and not granted.

When will the fee waiver apply?

The fee waiver will be applied to each ODBS authorisation when it has reached its expiry date Instead of receiving an account for renewal of the ODBS authorisation, booking services will automatically receive their ODBS authorisation document for the next 12 months via email.

Fee waivers will continue to apply to all ODBS authorisation renewals due on or before 31 March 2021. 

Will booking services need to do anything to receive the fee waiver?

No, the fee waiver will be automatically applied when booking services renew their ODBS authorisation before the expiry date. Booking services can view their current ODBS authorisation, including when it expires, via DoTDirect.

Will the fee waiver apply to ODBS authorisations that have expired recently, where booking services were unable to pay the renewal due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Booking services whose ODBS authorisation has recently expired will need to contact DoT via email to discuss their intentions for the ODBS authorisation and eligibility for the fee waiver.

Can a booking service change its fee band at renewal and receive the fee waiver?

Yes, booking services should consider the number of vehicles they expect to dispatch work to when renewing their ODBS authorisation.

It is recommended that businesses apply for authorisation based on the highest number of vehicles they expect to dispatch work to over the next 12 months.

If I have already paid my ODBS renewal, can I request a refund instead of a fee waiver for my 2021 fees?

No, refunds for surrendered ODBS authorisations are not possible under the legislation. If you have already paid your ODBS renewal since 28 February 2020, you will be given a credit for the next 12 months authorisation due in 2021.

I’ve received my ODBS authorisation renewal notice and it’s due very soon. Do I need to do anything to receive the waiver or renew my ODBS authorisation?

No, you do not need to do anything. DoT has applied the fee waiver so that when your authorisation expires, it automatically applies the fee waiver.

DoT is prioritising fee waivers for those ODBS that are due to expire very soon.

Please do not pay your current renewal notice, if you have received one already.

If you have further questions about the ODBS authorisation fee waiver, please email On-demand Transport or phone 1300 660 147.

Further information can be found in the Minister for Transport's media statement or the WA Government Gazette notice below.

  Passenger transport vehicle (PTV) authorisation renewal fee waiver

Passenger transport vehicle (PTV) authorisation renewal fees have been waived for PTV authorisations that:

  • were active on 9 April 2020; and
  • are due for renewal on or before 31 March 2021.

PTV authorisation holders who paid their renewal before 9 April 2020 will have the fee waiver applied to their renewal in 2021.

The fee for a 12-month PTV authorisation will be waived, even if the existing PTV authorisation is for 3 or 6 months. The fee waiver will effectively grant all eligible customers one 12-month PTV authorisation, normally charged at $113 per vehicle, at no cost. 

One-month PTV authorisations are unable to be renewed and are ineligible for the fee waiver.

Will PTV authorisation holders need to do anything to receive the fee waiver?

No, DoT will automatically apply the PTV authorisation renewal fee waiver when the current authorisation expires.

Can a PTV authorisation holder change their authorisation period upon renewal and receive the fee waiver?

Yes. Even if an eligible customer has a current 3 or 6-month PTV authorisation that is due for renewal, they will receive a PTV fee waiver for 12-months despite the existing PTV authorisation being a 3 or 6-month PTV authorisation.

I’ve received my PTV authorisation renewal notice and it’s due very soon. Do I need to do anything to receive the waiver or renew my PTV authorisation?

No, DoT will automatically apply the PTV authorisation renewal fee waiver when the current authorisation expires. The PTV holder will be sent a new PTV authorisation document for the relevant vehicle(s) via email.

If you have further questions about the PTV authorisation fee waiver, please email On-demand Transport or phone 1300 660 147.

Further information can be found in the Minister for Transport's media statement or the WA Government Gazette notice below.

  COVID-19 relief payments ($2,500) to ODBSs who also hold one or more PTV authorisations

Authorised booking services that also hold one or more PTV authorisations will be eligible for a direct $2,500 cash payment.

Booking services who do not directly hold PTV authorisations are not eligible for this relief payment.

What are the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible for the $2,500 payment, a booking service must have:

  • held an active ODBS authorisation on 1 April 2020; and
  • held an active PTV authorisation on 1 April 2020.

If the ODBS and/or PTV authorisation was expired, cancelled or suspended on 1 April 2020 the booking service is ineligible for the payment.

The Department of Transport is aware that some booking services may not hold their ODBS and PTV authorisations in the same name or entity structure. The table below outlines the eligible combinations.

Eligibility for $2,500 COVID-19 relief payment

ODBS authorisation held by: PTV authorisation held by:
Company

The same company; or

A director of the same company

Trust A trustee
Partnership A partner
Individual The same individual

How will I know if I’m eligible for the COVID-19 relief payment?

DoT has emailed all eligible booking services with an invitation to apply for the payment.

If you believe your eligibility for the COVID-19 relief payment has been incorrectly assessed, please email On-demand Transport or phone the dedicated on-demand transport industry support hotline on 1300 471 834 (open between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday).

Applications must be submitted by 11.59pm, Friday 15 May 2020 - late applications will not be accepted. Payments are expected to be made in June 2020.

Is a booking service eligible for the COVID-19 relief payment if they are in the process of acquiring PTV authorisations but do not currently hold any?

No. The COVID-19 relief payments are only eligible to booking services who hold PTV authorisations on 1 April 2020.

If an authorised ODBS does not directly hold any PTV authorisations, but does hold PTV authorisations via an association arrangement, are they eligible for the COVID-19 relief payment?

No. The COVID-19 relief payment is only available to authorised (principal) on-demand booking services who held PTV authorisations on 1 April 2020.

If you have further questions about the COVID-19 relief payment, please email On-demand Transport or phone the dedicated on-demand transport industry support hotline on 1300 471 834 (open between 8.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday).

  Camera surveillance unit deadline extension

The timeframe for regional and metropolitan taxi operators to install an approved type of camera surveillance unit (CSU) will be extended to 1 July 2021 – previously the deadline was 2 July 2020.

The deadline will be moved in legislation as soon as Regulations can be amended to change the date currently prescribed.

The extension of time for installation allows taxi operators time to factor the cost of acquiring a CSU of an approved type into their operating budgets, providing timely financial relief.

Additionally, the WA Government is aware of concerns about the supply of CSUs being impacted by COVID-19. The deadline extension provides an additional 12 months for operators to source CSUs.

Will operators who have already installed an approved type of CSU receive anything?

No. The requirement to have an approved type of CSU still remains – operators who have already installed an approved type of CSU are compliant with the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2019.

If you have further questions about the camera surveillance unit deadline extension, please email On-demand Transport or phone 1300 660 147.

External Link Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020

  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.

  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.

External Link WA Department of Health: COVID-19 information for business, industry and local government
External Link WA Government COVID-19 (coronavirus) website

  No surge pricing under State of Emergency

On Sunday 15 March 2020, Premier McGowan and the State Government declared a State of Emergency under the Emergency Management Act and a Public Health Emergency under the Public Health Act.

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.

External Link Public Health Act
Opens in a new window Department of Justice: Emergency Management Act 2005 (WA)
External Link Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020

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Page last updated: Tue Sep 29 2020 10:01:21 AM