COVID-19: Updates on Department of Transport services

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 booking services 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.

  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.

  Fare evasion

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.

Note:

You have the right to request and receive payment of the estimated fare in advance and can refuse passengers who refuse to pay.

Opens in a new window 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.

  Make a complaint

Please refer to the Feedback and complaints page for types of complaints and how to lodge them.

  COVID-19: Health and safety for passenger transport operators

The WA Department of Health has released infection prevention and control information for public and private transport – this includes on-demand transport operators like taxis, rideshare and charter. 

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.

General advice for drivers

On-demand transport drivers are advised to:

  • Not attend work if feeling unwell, including cold or flu symptoms.
  • Perform regular hand hygiene throughout shifts. For example, at the start and end of shifts, before and after meals and after using the toilet you should wash hands with soap and water then dry hands thoroughly or use an alcohol-based sanitiser.
  • Thoroughly clean vehicles with detergent and disinfectant cleaning products/wipes – include all surfaces and pay particular attention to high touch surfaces such as handles, rails and buttons.
  • Have a scheduled shampoo/steam cleaning program for vehicles with fabric seating.
  • Members of the public who are suspected or known cases of COVID-19, are currently in self-quarantine after returning to WA from travel outside of the state, or who are undergoing COVID-19 testing should not be using public transport (including on-demand transport). 

Physical distancing in on-demand transport

Physical distancing (ensuring there is space between you and others) is an effective way of reducing transmission of infections. Although on-demand and other passenger transport is exempt from physical distancing recommendations, drivers and passengers are still encouraged to maintain physical distancing where possible.

Transporting known/suspected cases of COVID-19 and people under self-quarantine

Private vehicles, hospital transport or a Department of Health organised transport option should be provided for patients 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.

If an on-demand transport service is used for this purpose, the following measures should be observed:

  • A large vehicle should be chosen where available to provide adequate space between the driver and the passenger – the passenger should sit as far away from the driver as possible.
  • The driver should wear a surgical mask and take care not to touch the front of the mask once it is securely in place.
  • The passenger is to wear a surgical mask.
  • The passenger is to handle their own luggage and belongings wherever possible. If assistance is required, the driver should wear gloves. The gloves should be removed immediately after assisting with luggage and the driver should perform thorough hand hygiene.
  • The passenger is to perform hand hygiene before entering the vehicle.
  • Encourage the passenger to use contactless payment options.
  • Set vehicle ventilation systems to “fresh air” and open the windows slightly if appropriate.
  • At the end of the journey, the driver must thoroughly clean the vehicle with detergent and disinfectant cleaning products/wipes – include all surfaces and pay particular attention to high touch surfaces such as handles, seatbelts and seats. The driver should dispose of any PPE and disposable cleaning equipment, then perform thorough hand hygiene.

For more information, read the Infection prevention and control information for public and private transport fact sheet available via the WA Department of Health website.

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

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

 

Page last updated: Thu Mar 4 2021 4:37:27 PM