COVID-19 information for passenger transport industry

Find COVID-19 information for the WA passenger transport industry.

  COVID-19: Health and safety for passenger transport operators

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. 

Mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for WA workforce

Based on the latest health advice, on Wednesday 20 October 2021 the WA Government introduced a phased approach to a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for a majority of workforces and occupations in WA.

The policy follows the existing mandates in place for workers in high-risk industries, including those interacting with people at an increased risk of being infected with COVID-19, or people who are vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.

The policy’s phased approach outlines mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for expanded industries in WA, as well as a requirement for all critical workers to be vaccinated in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions, to continue attending work.

Passenger transport, including taxi, charter and rideshare services, is deemed to be a critical occupation. This means that to continue operating, all passenger transport drivers must:

  • receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday 31 December 2021; and
  • be fully vaccinated by Monday 31 January 2022.

We are awaiting further clarification from the WA Government regarding the vaccination requirements for other members of the passenger transport industry (such as administrative and call centre staff). We will provide an update to industry when the Direction to give effect to this announcement has been released. 

Visit the WA Government's COVID-19 (coronavirus) website for more information, including how to get proof of your vaccination. Call 13COVID (13 26843) for any questions.

Health and safety advice for drivers

As a passenger transport driver, you’re required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday 31 January 2022. 

At all times, you are advised to:

  • stay home if sick and get tested;
  • physical distance whenever you can;
  • wash or sanitise hands often;
  • provide hand sanitiser to passengers;
  • clean vehicle regularly; and
  • encourage contactless payment.

Transporting people under self-quarantine

Private vehicles, hospital transport or a WA Health organised transport option should be provided for COVID-19 positive people 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.

You must ask passengers if they are in quarantine or going for testing before they get in the vehicle, so you can take extra precautions. To keep safe, follow these instructions:

  • both you and your passenger must wear a surgical mask (throw it away after the trip);
  • passengers should use hand sanitiser before getting in;
  • do not handle your passenger’s luggage;
  • passengers should sit in the back;
  • open windows and set air conditioning to fresh; and
  • you must clean your vehicle after the trip.

If you drive people who are in quarantine, you can get free testing every 7 days as part of the DETECT Borders program. Visit COVID-19 testing for DETECT Borders for details.

For more information, read the Taxi and rideshare drivers – stay COVID safe fact sheet, available on the WA Health COVID-19 information for business, industry and local government webpage, under the “Travel, State quarantine facilities and hotels” section.

Visit the WA Government's COVID-19 (coronavirus) website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

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

Refusal of service to passengers not vaccinated against COVID-19

Drivers have certain rights that can allow them to refuse service to a passenger if they believe there is a threat to their safety.  

Section 19 of the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018 provides that a driver must:

  • ensure their own health and safety; and
  • ensure that their own acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of other persons; and
  • comply, so far as the driver is reasonably able, with any reasonable instruction that is given by the on-demand booking service.

Regulation 138 of the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020 provides that a driver can refuse a passenger if they have reasonable grounds to believe that either the intended passenger or a person accompanying the intended passenger, poses a threat to the driver’s safety.

If you are refusing a passenger because of concerns for your safety, it is recommended that you record the reasons for this belief, and clearly explain these to the passenger being refused.

Drivers should speak to their authorised on-demand booking service to confirm how risks associated with COVID-19 are dealt with in their Safety Management System. 

Opens in a new window Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018
External Link Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020

  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.

 

  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. 

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: Fri Nov 26 2021 10:06:33 AM