COVID-19: Updates on Department of Transport services

Travelling in passenger transport

  COVID-19: Safety tips for passengers

We all need to work together to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on our community. Please consider the following points when taking a trip:

  • Is this trip for essential, urgent travel? For example getting groceries or visiting the doctor. If not, reconsider whether you should take the trip.
  • Do not use passenger transport if you are feeling unwell.
  • Practice social distancing – sit in the back seat if possible and avoid direct contact with drivers.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before and after taking a trip.
  • If you need to sneeze or cough, use your bent elbow or a tissue to avoid spreading droplets. If you use a tissue, place it in the bin as soon as possible.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

For further tips on staying safe, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.

External Link Australian Government Department of Health: How to protect yourself and others from coronavirus (COVID-19)

  Acts and regulations governing rights and responsibilities

The following legislation governs the rights and responsibilities of drivers and passengers.

Opens in a new window Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018
External Link Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020

  What is the difference between passenger transport and on-demand transport?

Passenger transport is the transport of passengers by a vehicle for hire or reward - on-demand transport is one type of passenger transport.

On-demand transport includes a service which provides a passenger with flexibility around the route they take and the time they travel. This includes:

  • Taxis.
  • App-based booking service providers.
  • Limousines.
  • Charter buses or vehicles (for example, private airport transfers).
  • Contracted buses or vehicles (for example, by mining companies).
  • Party buses (for example, hens'/bucks' nights or pub crawls).
  • Hired buses (for example, educational excursions).

On-demand transport can be booked well in advance or for immediate departure.

There are other types of passenger transport which are not on-demand:

  • Tourism passenger transport is the transport of tourists for hire and reward to a destination listed on advertised publicly available tour itinerary.
  • Regular passenger transport is the transport of passengers for hire and reward that is conducted according to regular routes and timetables. 
  • Community transport is the transport of passengers undertaken by a not-for-profit service whose purpose is to improve the community they service. For example, a local government service transporting seniors to appointments, shopping or events.
  • Courtesy transport is transport provided to a customer, where the transport is additional to the primary service provided. No profit is taken by the provider as a result of the courtesy transport service. For example, a courtesy car for a car repair service.

For further information, visit What is On-demand transport?

  Compare your options

The table below shows the options available for the various on-demand transport services. It is recommended you check with service providers to see if they are equipped to offer these options.

Description Taxi Charter vehicle
Hail on the street Yes No
Catch at a taxi rank Yes No
Book by phone Yes Yes
Use booking app Yes Yes
Wheelchair and scooter access Yes Some companies
Security camera fitted in vehicles statewide **Yes Some companies
Taxi user subsidy scheme Yes No
Assistance animal friendly^ Yes Yes
Pre-agreed contract fares Yes Yes
Driver ID picture Yes Yes
Passengers allowed to consume alcohol No *Yes, in specific circumstances

*Passengers (aged 18+) can consume alcohol in licensed charter vehicles if the vehicle is being hired for one hour or more continuously, the vehicle is not equipped to carry more than 14 passengers and any juvenile passengers are accompanied by, and under the supervision of a responsible adult. The driver of the vehicle cannot allow a drunk person to consume alcohol in the vehicle.

**As of July 2020, all taxis must have a Camera Surveillance Unit (CSU) of an approved type installed in the vehicle.

^Assistance animal access rights are governed by the following legislation:

External Link Disability Services Act 1986 (Commonwealth)
External Link Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)
External Link Disability Services Act 1993 (WA)
External Link Dog Act 1976
External Link National Disability Services Standards (2014)
External Link Privacy Act 1986 (Commonwealth)

  Why choose an authorised on-demand booking service?

Under the Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018, all On-demand Booking Services (ODBS) must be authorised. It is important to only take trips through an authorised ODBS to ensure your safety.

To search for an authorised ODBS, enter the business name or authorisation number.

Trips must be booked directly with the authorised ODBS.

Please note that this search service is provided as a guide to the authorisation status of a relevant booking service at the time of the check.  It is, however, not conclusive proof that a booking service holds an authorisation.  If you are concerned about the status of an authorisation after using this service, you can contact On-demand Transport.

Opens in a new window List of authorised on-demand booking service providers

  Tips for staying safe

There are some easy things that you can do as a passenger to ensure a safe trip.

  • Hail a taxi or request to be picked up from a safe spot – avoid traffic lights, bus lanes or the middle of the street.
  • Try to stand on the side of the road that your driver will be approaching from.
  • Make sure the vehicle and driver details match your booking – don’t risk riding with an unauthorised operator.
  • Your driver must display appropriate identification. If you cannot see a driver's identification, you should request to see it.
    • For charter drivers, this includes their photo and first name (e.g. their profile on your booking app or a name tag).
    • For taxi drivers, this includes their photo, first name and driver ID number – this is usually a card displayed on the dashboard or sun visor.
  • Make sure your driver is following the road rules and traffic laws
  • Be aware of traffic as you enter and leave the vehicle. 
  • All taxis are required to have a Camera Surveillance Unit installed and booking services can access these recordings. Some charter vehicles may have a surveillance camera installed – if so, they should have a sticker on the outside to inform you.
  • Check the safety features included in your booking app – you may able to share your trip status with a friend or call emergency assistance if required.
Opens in a new window List of authorised on-demand booking service providers

  Paying the fare

A driver or booking app may require full payment of the fare upfront or a deposit prior to the journey. Drivers or booking apps can legally refuse passengers who do not pay in advance.

The driver can legally request a deposit before the start of the journey.

Obtaining your receipt

All on-demand booking services are required to provide you with a receipt that includes at least one of the following:

  • Their booking service authorisation number;
  • The name of the booking service (as it appears on the ABN); or
  • A trading or business name used by the booking service.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) outlines your rights regarding obtaining receipts and other types of proof of service.

External Link Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: Receipts

  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.

  Making a complaint

Service complaints

If you believe you have been overcharged or have experienced poor customer service during your trip, you should make a complaint directly to the relevant booking service.

This may include issues relating to:

  • service delivery;
  • failure to pick up passengers;
  • driver attitude or hygiene;
  • over charges or fare discrepancies;
  • condition of the vehicle; or
  • lost property.

If you are unsatisfied with the response you receive from the booking service, you may wish to investigate your options with Consumer Protection, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety and report the incident to On-demand Transport for our records.

If you are unable to identify the booking service, you can email the details of the incident to On-demand Transport. DoT will strive to identify the booking service and pass on the details of the incident.

Criminal and traffic offences

Criminal offences such as physical or sexual assault and traffic related offences must be reported to WA Police. If required, the Department of Transport will assist with any police investigation.

Reporting other offences

On-demand Transport receives and manages reports about the passenger transport industry (including taxi, rideshare and charter companies), where the reported issue relates to possible offences under sections of the following legislation:

  • Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018; and
  • Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2019.

To make a report related to the above legislation, email On-demand Transport.

For further information, visit Contact On-demand Transport.

Opens in a new window Transport (Road Passenger Services) Act 2018
External Link Transport (Road Passenger Services) Regulations 2020


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