Responsibilities for authorised booking services
Safety duties and standards
The Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018 (the Act) introduces a range of safety duties and safety standards for passenger transport services.
On-demand booking service (ODBS) providers must ensure the health and safety of their passengers and drivers. A chain of accountability framework establishes that booking services have an obligation to ensure they meet their safety duties. All drivers and vehicles they dispatch work to will need to meet the applicable safety standards outlined in the Act and associated regulations.
It is a condition of authorisation that booking services comply with these duties and standards, as well as keep records and provide data to the Department of Transport (DoT) as specified in the regulations.
Regulations applying safety standards will be introduced in two stages:
- On Thursday 28 February 2019, Part 2 of the Act introduced the requirement for all on-demand booking services to develop and maintain a Safety Management System.
- In mid-2019, further safety standards such as camera and vehicle signage requirements will be introduced to replace the existing requirements on taxi and charter vehicles specified in their licence operating conditions.
Safety Management Systems
A critical part of meeting safety requirements for a booking service is developing and using a Safety Management System, customised to your business. A Safety Management System is a set of policies, procedures and plans that systematically manage health and safety at work by identifying safety risks and putting in place steps to mitigate them.
Further information, including resources to help you meet your safety requirements, can be found at Safety management for authorised booking services
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018|
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2019|
It will be a condition of the ODBS authorisation to keep certain prescribed records, which may be requested by the DoT at any time. These include records related to individual on-demand jobs, as well as records of the names and details of drivers and vehicles.
Job records to be kept for each booking include:
- the day and time the booking was taken;
- the day and time the journey took place;
- the locations where the journey began and ended;
- the name and details of the driver;
- the vehicle licence number of the vehicle used;
- customer information, such as contact details or the account charged;
- the number of passengers seated in a wheelchair;
- if a booking was referred to another provider, the name of that provider and the day and time of the referral; and
- the amount of the fare paid and the components of that fare.
Whilst DoT does not require these records to be submitted as part of the Levy return, a booking service must maintain these as part of their authorisation. DoT Education and Compliance Officers can attend and perform audits to ensure booking services are meeting their authorisation obligations. Visit Levy requirements for booking services for more information.
The below template may be used to assist with record keeping obligations. Please note, this resource is provided as a guide only and may or may not be sufficient to address the needs of a specific business.
|Booking and levy records template - record keeping||Kb|
Booking services are required to have appropriate complaints management processes and procedures in place.
The following links are provided to assist booking services to establish complaints management processes that meet their needs. A large range of example complaint management processes, policies and procedures can be found online and from other established businesses.
|Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Dealing with customer complaints|
|WA Small Business Corporation: Handling customer complaints|
Notifiable occurrences (safety)
In mid-2019 all authorised ODBSs will be required to keep a register of, and report to the DoT all notifiable occurrences that they become aware of.
Notifiable occurrences are incidents of a more serious nature that involve, or have the potential to result in, injury, violence or abuse of a person. The current requirements for taxi dispatchers and hire or reward vehicle holders to report serious incidents will continue until this time.
Booking services are required to be transparent in the determination of their fares.
All booked fares which is every fare other than rank or hail, must be agreed in advance with the hirer and provided in writing prior to the trip commencing.
If using a taxi meter, a booking service must provide a fare schedule in an approved form that states the metered fares. The fares must not exceed the maximum outlined in the regulations.
It will be up to individual businesses to decide whether to charge a surcharge based on time or availability, or to charge less than any regulated maximums.
Surge pricing or queue-jumping surcharges are not permitted if there is a declared state of emergency for the area.
Further information about fares can be found at Fares (country and metro)
Education and compliance
To assist booking services understand and meet their safety duties and safety standards, DoT will be conducting audits. Prior to the initial audit, the ODBS will be offered an advisory visit where DoT Education and Compliance Officers will answer any questions the ODBS has about its obligations and what to expect in the audit.
DoT have released a suite of resources to assist booking services to meet their safety duties and safety standards, including:
- Safety management system guide.
- Vehicle and fatigue management plan templates.
- Record keeping guide.
- Complaints handling resources.
- Notifiable occurrences register template; and
- Audit checklist.