Here you will find information about what association arrangements are, when you might need one, and how to develop them.
An association arrangement is a written agreement between two on-demand booking services (ODBSs) – the principal ODBS and the associated ODBS – where the principal ODBS agrees to take responsibility for certain things on behalf of the associated ODBS, related to the running of an ODBS.
Why are association arrangements required?
The Transport Road (Passenger Services) Act 2018 (the Act) regulates the passenger transport industry in WA.
Under the Act, for every on-demand passenger transport trip, the driver, the vehicle and the ODBS have specific responsibilities and must be appropriately authorised.
The person or organisation who takes the booking is considered the ODBS and must be authorised unless there is a valid association arrangement in place.
The most common example where association arrangements are used is with rank or hail bookings. The driver of a taxi who takes rank or hail bookings from a person at a taxi rank either needs to hold their own ODBS authorisation or have a compliant association arrangement with an authorised ODBS.
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018|
Who needs an association arrangement?
If you are taking or facilitating bookings for on-demand transport services, you are considered to be operating as an on-demand booking service (ODBS). As an ODBS, you must either:
- hold your own ODBS authorisation; or
- have an association arrangement in place with an authorised ODBS.
If you only take jobs dispatched via an authorised ODBS, you do not need an ODBS authorisation of your own or an association arrangement.
See the table below to see where your situation fits, and whether you need 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.|
What is an association arrangement?
An association arrangement is a written agreement between two ODBSs. One agrees to be the principal ODBS and the other agrees to be the associated ODBS.
The principal ODBS must hold a valid ODBS authorisation.
The principal ODBS agrees to take responsibility for certain tasks on behalf of the associated OBDS, related to running an ODBS. For example, association arrangements are often applicable when:
- an authorised ODBS dispatches or facilitates jobs for the driver; and
- the driver also takes bookings directly from their customers but does not want the responsibility of holding their own ODBS authorisation.
The association arrangement must contain certain content and the principal ODBS has specific responsibilities under the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018 – these are outlined in the section below titled What needs to be in an association arrangement?
The principal ODBS and associated ODBS must come to an agreement about who takes responsibility for other tasks related to running the ODBS.
Note: Association arrangements are not approved by the Department of Transport (DoT), but may be checked during audits or other compliance activities.
See the Association arrangement fact sheet below for a printable summary of the information on this page.
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018|
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 – that means both parties must clearly state their agreement with the terms of the association arrangement (for example, by signing the association arrangement);
- state the names of the two parties to the agreement, identifying which is the principal ODBS (the authorised ODBS), and which is the associated ODBS (the driver);
- clearly describe the services provided by the associated ODBS which are covered by the agreement (for example, 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 ODBS of their responsibilities (outlined below in the section titled Where responsibilities lie).
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).
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018|
Where responsibilities lie
Mandatory responsibilities for the principal ODBS
To meet legal requirements, the association arrangement must include that the principal ODBS agrees to take responsibility for:
- preparing, reviewing and maintaining an up-to-date safety management system;
- keeping records related to drivers, vehicles, bookings and booking requests;
- developing an accessible complaints resolution procedure, and keeping records of customer complaints;
- paying any levy for leviable trips.
Responsibility for other tasks
Responsibility for any other tasks undertaken that relate to the running of the ODBS can sit with the principal ODBS or the associated ODBS. The association arrangement just needs to clearly outline what the tasks are and who is responsible.
Other things you may consider including in an association arrangement include:
- mandatory use of a meter or fare calculation device when the associated ODBS (e.g. the driver) completes trips;
- requirement for the associated ODBS to log on and off from the principal ODBS’s network;
- establishing a requirement and process for the associated ODBS to report booking details to the principal ODBS;
- restrictions on how the principal ODBS may cover private bookings or rank or hail work for the associated ODBS; and
- restrictions on the times or locations the arrangement covers.
How long do association arrangements last?
Association arrangements can apply for a fixed term, or can be ongoing.
The association arrangement must state the date it starts on, and whether it is fixed term or ongoing.
If it is fixed term, the association arrangement must also state the date it ends.
Ongoing association arrangements can be ended at any point by either the principal or associated ODBS.
Terminating an association arrangement
You may decide to include details about how the association arrangement may be terminated.
For example, you may include a section stating that the association arrangement may be terminated by providing notice in writing to the other party, within a reasonable timeframe.
Please note: while you are not required to include termination details under the legislation, doing so may be relevant to your situation.
Keep a copy
Both the principal ODBS and the associated ODBS must keep a copy of their association arrangement. This copy must be kept from the date the arrangement is signed until at least two years after it has ended.
A DoT Officer may also request copies of any current or previous association arrangement from the principal ODBS or associated ODBS. For example, this could be part of an audit or on-road check.
Other records for principal ODBSs
The principal ODBS must also keep the following records for all current and previous association arrangements:
- start date;
- end date; and
- name and contact details of the associated ODBS.
These records must be kept for two years.
Penalties of $1,200 for an individual or $4,000 for a body corporate apply for not meeting record keeping obligations.
Visit Record keeping and industry data collection for more information.
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.
If you are taking your own bookings, and if your dispatcher or app network does not agree to enter into an association arrangement with you, it is your responsibility to get an ODBS authorisation of your own.
What happens if the terms of the association arrangement are broken?
The association arrangement should outline consequences for either party breaking the terms of the agreement.
For example, you may decide that operating outside the scope of the association arrangement is grounds for suspension or termination of the arrangement.
While it is not a legislative requirement to include this in your association arrangement, it may be beneficial to both parties to do so.