Ride-booking services are now legal in Queensland and taxis and limousines can compete on a level playing field, under changes to personalised transport regulation rolled out across the state this week.
Transport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said changing customer expectations highlighted the need to reform existing personalised transport regulation.
“These reforms give Queenslanders more choice, will drive competition and innovation across the whole industry and deliver a more flexible and modern personalised transport system that can keep pace with future changes,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“As a results of the reforms Queenslanders will have a wider range of affordable travel options, and the industry will benefit from less red tape and costs.
“Ride-booking services will now be able to operate legally across Queensland but there will be additional safety measures, such as requirements for identification signage and annual inspects to certify safety at approved inspection stations.
“Queenslanders will start to see signage of some ride-booking services in the lead up to the 1 November deadline.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the Queensland Government had also slashed red tape for the taxis and limousine industry, with a $100 million dollar industry adjustment assistance package including a range of financial, advisory and incentives measures.
“The $100 million adjustment package will help taxi and limousine service licence holders transition to the new framework and take advantage of new opportunities – without a $1 or $2 fare levy that other states have implemented,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Since 11 August, $4.3 million in immediate financial relief has been provided to taxi and limousine operators, licence holders and drivers through the waiving of service licence renewal fees, taxi industry security levy payments and Driver Authorisation renewal fees.
“Under the changes, the Queensland Government will also make a $20 payment to wheelchair accessible taxis to provide an incentive to prioritise bookings from people in wheelchair and mobility scooters.”
Other aspects of the industry adjustment assistance package will be rolled-out progressively.
Changes commencing from Monday 5 September:
- Ride-booking services can operate legally across Queensland
- Ride-booking vehicles must have appropriate identification signage
- New ride-booking drivers will be required to obtain a Taxi Driver Authorisation which will transition to the new Booked Hire / Taxi (BHTX) Driver Authorisation category that combines all personalised transport drivers (taxi, limousine and ride-booking)
- Existing ride-booking drivers who hold a current General Driver Authorisation will need to transition to BHTX Driver Authorisation upon renewal or by 14 August 2017 (whichever comes first)
- Taxis will continue to have exclusive access to rank and hail services
- Taxis will continue to be the exclusive providers of services to Taxi Subsidy Scheme members
- Taxi age limits will be removed
- Limousines can operate beyond age limits
- Maximum fares for booked hire services will be removed (except Taxi Subsidy Scheme and other wheelchair and mobility scooter services)
- Itemised receipts must be provided if requested by the customer (enforced from 1 November 2016)
- For booked hire services, fare estimates must be provided prior to the journey or the fare agreed to up front (enforced from 1 November 2016)
- The fine for soliciting and touting will be increased from $243 to $487
- All personalised transport drivers must: 1. must wear seatbelts at all times & 2. have a zero alcohol and drug limit for all drivers (while operating a personalised transport service).
For some of the changes that started this week, industry participants will have a ‘grace period’ until 1 November 2016 to comply. The Department of Transport and Main Roads will continue to undertake compliance activities to ensure all participants are meeting their new obligations under these changes.