Driver safety and rights
Your safety and rights as a driver are very important. Find out how to protect yourself and passengers, and your options regarding accepting trips.
Refusal of service to a passenger
Drivers have certain rights, which can result in a service being refused to passengers.
Drivers of on-demand rank or hail (taxi) vehicles must accept any passenger, unless:
- the driver has reasonable grounds to believe that the passenger/s or location at which the journey is to begin or end poses a threat to the driver’s safety;
- the driver has reasonable grounds to believe the passenger will damage or soil the vehicle;
- the passenger is abusive or aggressive;
- the passenger is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, to such an extent that he or she is likely to soil the vehicle, become abusive or aggressive;
- the driver has reasonable grounds to believe the passenger will evade or attempt to evade the payment of a fare;
- the driver requires the passenger to pay a deposit, and the passenger does not pay it; or
- the total number of passengers aged 12 years or over exceed the number of available seatbelts in the vehicle.
A driver can also refuse to carry a passenger if they believe it would result in some other likely safety hazard or offence. For example:
- the passenger refuses to wear a seatbelt when a seat belt is required;
- the passenger smokes inside the vehicle; or
- the passenger is accompanied by luggage or items which cannot safely be stowed in or on the vehicle.
Refusing a service to a passenger outside of these circumstances may result in penalties of up to $3,000.
Passengers cannot be refused service for:
- the length of their trip (too long or too short);
- the start or end location of their trip (unless this poses a threat to driver safety);
- use of Taxi User Subsidy Scheme Vouchers;
- requiring transport in a wheelchair, or to carry a wheelchair; or
- being accompanied by an assistance animal.
Individual ODBSs may have their own rules or policies around refusing passengers.
Soiled or damaged vehicle
In the event the vehicle is soiled or damaged by a passenger, the driver has the right to issue fees for cleaning and/or damages. Individual booking services may have their own policies around cleaning fees.
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.
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018|
|Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020|
Rights of appeal
The Department of Transport is committed to fairness and transparency.
As a passenger transport operator you may from time to time be subject to decisions by Departmental staff that you disagree with.
You are entitled to have a decision reviewed or appealed. This may include a decision to issue an infringement or cancel a driver's licence.
For further assistance, please contact the Department of Transport's On-demand Transport.
When a passenger leaves the vehicle without paying, drivers should report the fare evasion to their booking service.
Department of Transport does not investigate fare evasions.
Information on your options for recovery of the unpaid fare as a debt can be obtained through the Magistrate's Court of Western Australia - Civil Matters or via phone (08) 9425 2222.
You have the right to request and receive payment of the estimated fare in advance and can refuse passengers who refuse to pay.
|Magistrates Court of Western Australia: Civil Matters|
Education and compliance for drivers
Drivers in the passenger transport industry may be subject to DoT compliance checks. Visit the Education and Compliance page to find out more about compliance checks and procedures.
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.
Health and safety advice for drivers
To help stay safe, you can ask passengers if they have tested positive for COVID-19 before they get in your vehicle, so you can take extra precautions.
You are encouraged to:
- stay home if sick and get tested;
- stay up to date with your vaccinations;
- physical distance whenever you can;
- wash or sanitise hands often;
- provide hand sanitiser to passengers;
- clean your vehicle regularly;
- encourage contactless payment;
- avoid handling passengers’ luggage;
- ask passengers to sit in the back; and
- open windows and set air conditioning to fresh.
For more information, read the following fact sheets on the WA Health COVID-19 information for business, industry and local government webpage (linked below):
- Taxi and rideshare drivers – stay COVID safe fact sheet.
- Infection prevention and control information for public & private transport drivers/operators – transporting COVID-19 cases.
|WA Government COVID-19 (coronavirus) website|
|WA Health: COVID-19 information for business, industry and local government|