What is a booking service?
What is a booking service?
An On-demand Booking Service (ODBS) is:
- A provider who takes or communicates passenger requests for an on-demand trip and connects the customer with a vehicle and driver; or
- A driver who makes arrangements directly with the passenger for an on-demand trip.
Some examples of booking services include:
- ride-sourcing companies that take bookings via an app;
- taxi dispatch services;
- taxis doing rank or hail work or private bookings;
- individuals or companies that take bookings for premium charter vehicles;
- individuals or companies that takes bookings for bus charters;
- limousine operators taking bookings for school balls or other occasions; and
- tourism operators that offer bespoke tours (including regional areas) where the customer determines the itinerary and times.
|What is an on-demand booking service? (Fact sheet)||Kb|
What are association arrangements?
As a provider of on-demand transport services, you must ensure that all on-demand trips you take bookings for, including rank or hail, are covered by an authorised ODBS. If you are not authorised as an ODBS in your own right, you will need to have an association arrangement.
What is an association arrangement?
An association arrangement is a specific written agreement between two booking services. It is most relevant when one of the booking services is a business who dispatches or otherwise facilitates jobs for the driver and the other is the driver who takes bookings directly from their own clients.
An association arrangement must state which is the principal booking service and which is the associated booking service. Association arrangements are not approved by DoT. They must be developed and agreed upon by the booking services and meet the requirements detailed in the regulations.
The principal booking service must take primary responsibility for:
- preparing, reviewing and maintaining an up-to-date safety management system;
- keeping records related to drivers, vehicles, bookings and booking requests;
- preparing and making available a complaints resolution procedure;
- keeping records of customer complaints; and
- paying any levy for leviable trips.
It is up to the principal booking service and associated booking service to agree upon responsibility for other tasks related to the business of running a booking service.
What needs to be in an association arrangement?
To meet the requirements of the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018 (the Act), an association arrangement must:
- be a written agreement between two ODBS providers;
- state the names of the two parties to the agreement (the authorised principal booking service and the associated booking service);
- identify which of these parties is the principal booking service (the authorised booking service) and which is the associated booking service (the driver);
- clearly describe the services provided by the associated booking service, which are covered by the agreement (e.g. the rank or hail bookings that the associated driver completes in a vehicle with livery and a meter for the principal ODBS); and
- include an acknowledgement by the principal booking service of their responsibilities (outlined above).
Any association arrangement that starts from 1 July 2020 must also include:
- the date on which the agreement started; and
- the term of the agreement (which may be ongoing or until a set date).
Both the principal ODBS and the associated ODBS must keep copies of their association arrangement from the date it is signed until at least two years after it has ended. Both booking services must produce copies of the current and previous association arrangements for inspection to a DoT Authorised Officer if requested (for example, as part of an audit).
For all current and previous association arrangements, including those entered into before 1 July 2020, the principal ODBS must also keep records of:
- the date when each association arrangement starts and ends;
- the name and contact details of the associated ODBS; and
- if the association arrangement has ceased, what date it ceased.
Penalties of $1,200 for an individual or $4,000 for a body corporate apply.
Association arrangement tips for principal booking services
Association arrangements provide detail about what services that the principal booking service is willing to take responsibility for and which they are not. It is important that there is enough detail to clearly articulate where responsibilities lie.
Consider the following situations as examples:
- The principal booking service is responsible for keeping booking records. The association arrangement covers all bookings, even those that a driver might not report to the principal booking service. The principal booking service is still responsible for keeping booking records, even if bookings are not reported by the driver.
- The principal booking service is responsible for managing safety risks such as fatigue. If the association arrangement doesn’t require the driver to log on and off at the beginning and end of shifts, this is difficult to do.
You may want to consider including specific details in your association arrangement to cover these kinds of situations. This may include things like:
- mandatory use of a meter or fare device when completing trips;
- requirement for drivers to log on and off;
- requirement and process for drivers to report booking details;
- restrictions on covering private bookings or rank or hail bookings; and
- restrictions on the times or locations the arrangement covers.
Who needs an association arrangement?
|Type of service provided||Do I need an association arrangement or my own ODBS authorisation?|
|On-demand Rank or Hail (taxi)|
|I only take work via a dispatcher or app network that I am affiliated or partnered with.||No. The dispatcher or app network is facilitating the booking and will need to be authorised as an ODBS.|
|I take work via a dispatcher or app network I am affiliated or partnered with and I also accept work through rank or hail or private arrangements.||Yes. You either need an association arrangement with the dispatcher or app network to cover this work, or your own ODBS authorisation.|
|I only accept rank or hail work or jobs through private arrangements.||Yes. You either need an association arrangement with the dispatcher or app network to cover this work, or your own ODBS authorisation.|
|I only take work from a charter/rideshare company either as an employee or freelance driver.||No. The charter or rideshare company is facilitating the booking and will need to be authorised as an ODBS.|
|I take work from a charter/rideshare company either as an employee or freelance driver and I also take my own private bookings from clients (unconnected with the charter/rideshare company).||Yes. You either need an association arrangement with the charter/rideshare company to cover this work, or your own ODBS authorisation.|
Whose responsibility is it to have an appropriate association arrangement?
It is up to individual drivers to ensure their on-demand transport trips and bookings are covered by an appropriate ODBS authorisation or association arrangement.
It is important to discuss arrangements for any private work that you do with your dispatcher or network to see if an association arrangement with them is appropriate. As a driver, if your dispatcher or app network does not agree to enter into an association arrangement, it is your responsibility to get an ODBS authorisation of your own.
IMPORTANT: DoT does not approve association arrangements; these are to be developed and agreed by the relevant parties. If you need support developing an association arrangement, DoT advises you to request assistance from your industry body, contact community business support services or seek legal advice.
View the Association arrangement fact sheet below for further information.
|Association arrangement fact sheet||Kb|
What is passing on a booking?
If you operate an authorised ODBS (or have an association arrangement with an authorised ODBS) and pass a booking on to another authorised ODBS (i.e. the passenger and job details are fully communicated to the other provider who then takes full responsibility for liaising with the passenger), you do not need to count them in your fee band.
However, if you dispatch a job to another on-demand passenger transport service provider, but retain the booking and communication with the passenger (i.e. you remain "the face" of the booking), then you must count this vehicle in your fee band when applying for authorisation.
It is important to understand the difference between these processes to ensure you choose the most appropriate fee band for your business when applying for ODBS authorisation. You must consider the maximum number of vehicles you are likely to dispatch work to over the year.
What is not a booking service?
In addition to on-demand passenger transport, there are other types of passenger transport:
- Tourism passenger transport is the transport of tourists for hire and reward to a destination listed on advertised publicly available tour itinerary.
- Regular passenger transport is the transport of passengers for hire and reward that is conducted according to regular routes and timetables.
Businesses which solely provide tourism or regular passenger transport services are not classified as on-demand booking services and therefore do not need to apply for an on-demand booking service authorisation.
Vehicles and drivers for these businesses will still need to hold the relevant authorisations. From mid-2019, tourism and regular passenger transport services will be required to develop and keep a Safety Management System to meet their safety duties under the Act.
There are also types of transport that are not passenger transport but for which drivers may require authorisations, these include courtesy and community transport.
- Community transport is the transport of passengers undertaken by a not-for-profit service whose purpose is to improve the community they service. For example, a bus transporting residents of a nursing home.
- Courtesy transport is transport provided to a customer, where the transport is additional to the primary service provided. No profit is taken from the courtesy transport by the provider. For example, a courtesy car for a car repair service.
There are also types of businesses that offer services that are relevant to a booking service which are not required to be authorised as an ODBS. These include:
- Hire a skipper services;
- Travel agents;
- Communications and technology services such as call centres who are contracted to take bookings on behalf of the ODBS; and
- Businesses that offer administrative or ancillary services to an ODBS such as preparation of the Safety Management System.
|Tour and charter fact sheet||Kb|
Setting up your own on-demand transport business
If you are considering setting up an on-demand transport business there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re ready.
- You will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to apply for an ODBS authorisation.
- You will need a business name or logo to meet vehicle signage and sticker requirements.
- Sign up for a DoTDirect account that properly reflects your business structure.
- If you’re a sole operator, you can use your individual DoTDirect account. However, if you want other people to have access to your business dealings in DoTDirect (such as a business partner) then you should apply for an organisation account.
- Research what equipment your vehicle will require, where to get it made and how much it will cost. This may include equipment such as:
- roof light;
- roof sign;
- mountings or a phone cradle; and
- ODBS signage and stickers.
- If you’re driving a taxi, your vehicle must have a camera surveillance unit that meets the Camera Surveillance Unit (CSU) Standards 2019 and Taxi plates.
- Consider how you will fulfil your safety, record keeping and complaints handling obligations, and what tools or resources you will need.
- If you operate in the Perth, Mandurah or Murray areas, your trips may be subject to the Levy so you will need to keep additional Levy records and submit Levy returns quarterly.
To set up an on-demand transport business, you will need:
- An On-demand Booking Service authorisation for your booking service;
- Passenger Transport Vehicle authorisation/s with the appropriate category or categories for the vehicle/s you intend to dispatch bookings to; and
- Driver authorisation/s (F or T extension) for the drivers who will be driving the vehicles you intend to dispatch bookings to.
Read the On-demand Booking Services: Setting up your own on-demand transport business fact sheet for more information.
|On-demand Booking Services: Setting up your own on-demand transport business fact sheet||Kb|
Authorised on-demand booking services
Under the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018, all On-demand Booking Services (ODBS) must be authorised. It is important to only take trips through an authorised ODBS to ensure your safety.
To search for an authorised ODBS, enter the business name or authorisation number.
Trips must be booked directly with the authorised ODBS.
Please note that this search service is provided as a guide to the authorisation status of a relevant booking service at the time of the check. It is, however, not conclusive proof that a booking service holds an authorisation. If you are concerned about the status of an authorisation after using this service, you can contact On-demand Transport.
|List of authorised on-demand booking service providers|