Taxi and hire car industry reforms
Victorians are enjoying more choice, shorter wait times, safer services and reduced fares following reforms to the commercial passenger vehicle industry.
More choice – wherever you live
There are now more cars and drivers on the road and more choices to travel, wherever you live.
All licensing requirements have been removed and replaced with a simple vehicle registration process, and operating costs have been slashed. This has made it easier for new operators to get into the Victorian market.
Long queues at taxi ranks are a thing of the past with 70 per cent more taxis in large regional cities, including Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, and over 80 per cent more in Melbourne.
New rideshare and taxi booking services have entered the market and more innovative services are starting up all the time.
Improved safety and accountability
You can now feel safer in the knowledge that every taxi and hire car (including rideshare) driver has passed a police, medical and driving history check, and is subject to ongoing criminal data matching.
All companies are now responsible for safety and service delivery and need to be accredited by Safe Transport Victoria (STV). They need to have effective processes in place for dealing with safety issues, customer complaints and service quality concerns. They also need to protect the privacy of passengers and drivers when bookings are taken.
Whether you hail a cab from the street or book on an app, the vehicle must meet the same basic safety requirements expected of all passenger vehicles on our roads. Vehicles engaging in rank and hail work need to meet additional requirements such as installing cameras to reflect the anonymous nature of rank and hail work.
STV works with the industry to make sure services are safe and easy to access for all.
More services for people with a disability
There are more choices for people who rely on wheelchair accessible services - with more than 200 extra services since reforms began in September 2017.
The Victorian Government is investing $25 million to improve and expand commercial passenger vehicle services for people with a disability.
The wheelchair lifting fee - an incentive paid to commercial passenger vehicle operators and drivers - has progressively increased since reform. Learn more about lifting fees for Multi-Purpose Taxi Program members.
The Department of Transport has reviewed government subsidies and incentives for accessible passenger vehicle services and is working towards introducing changes to improve passenger experience and choice for people with accessibility needs.
This includes seeking to expand the Multi-Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP) to booked services and considering how to better educate drivers to service passengers with accessibility needs. As well as taxis, Uber and Oiii now offer subsidised MPTP trips in Victoria.
A dedicated Commissioner for Disability and Accessibility was appointed to STV.
The Commissioner has monitored the industry and used stakeholder feedback to deliver additional improvements, supported by the Department and STV.
Better consumer protection
More consumer protection is now in place to help passengers make informed travel choices.
You can now shop around and get an estimated fare up-front from any driver before your trip.
All vehicles carrying out unbooked rank and hail work will continue to use a meter to accurately and transparently calculate the total cost of the trip. They also need to display fare information on the inside and outside of the car.
Driver behaviour is regulated – from obligations not to smoke, to taking the passengers directions of the most direct route.
All commercial passenger vehicles must be identifiable when they are in service, and the industry must now notify the regulator of safety incidents and prepare and maintain a register of safety risks.
Industry transition assistance
The reforms have greatly reduced costs to new entrants while delivering the most generous industry transition support scheme in Australia.
A $500 million assistance package has now been paid to those most impacted by industry transition.
The support package includes:
- Transition assistance payments
- Fairness Fund
- Rebates to annual and peak service licence holders.
A $1.05 per trip industry levy (the commercial passenger vehicle service levy) has applied to all commercial passenger vehicle trips since 1 July 2018.
The levy funds Australia’s most generous transition package for former taxi and hire car licence owners as well as a $25 million investment to improve services for people with a disability.
The Victorian Government has also slashed taxi TAC premiums by up to $2000 a year to provide a level playing field with other commercial passenger vehicles.
The levy is calculated on a total number of trips, and businesses will be able to spread the cost across long and short distance trip prices.
A rebate scheme will be implemented for country areas if the levy has a disproportionate affect in smaller communities.
For more information about the levy, visit the State Revenue Office website.
Victoria’s commercial passenger vehicle industry reforms were delivered through two sets of legislative change.
The Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Bill 2017 passed the Victorian Parliament on 10 August 2017. The Commercial Passenger Vehicle Industry Amendment (Further Reforms) Bill 2017 passed the Victorian Parliament on 12 December 2017.
The reforms have been progressively implemented from 2017.
New regulations have been introduced since July 2018 to better protect passengers and drivers and reduce costs for industry.
For more information, visit the STV website.