What is a booking service?

An on-demand booking service (ODBS) is a provider who takes or communicates passenger requests for an on-demand trip and connects the customer with a vehicle and driver; or a driver who makes arrangements directly with the passenger for an on-demand trip.

  What is an on-demand booking service?

An on-demand booking service (ODBS) is:

  • a provider who takes or communicates passenger requests for an on-demand trip and connects the customer with a vehicle and driver; or
  • a driver who makes arrangements directly with the passenger for an on-demand trip.

Some examples of on-demand booking services include:

  • ride-sourcing companies that take bookings via an app;
  • taxi dispatch services;
  • taxis doing rank or hail work or private bookings;
  • individuals or companies that take bookings for premium charter vehicles;
  • individuals or companies that takes bookings for bus charters;
  • limousine operators taking bookings for school balls or other occasions; and
  • tourism operators that offer bespoke tours (including regional areas) where the customer determines the itinerary and times.

  What are association arrangements?

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.

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.

Visit the Association arrangements webpage for more information.

  What is passing on a booking?

If you operate an authorised ODBS (or have an association arrangement with an authorised ODBS) and pass a booking on to another authorised ODBS (i.e. the passenger and job details are fully communicated to the other provider who then takes full responsibility for liaising with the passenger), you do not need to count them in your fee band.

However, if you dispatch a job to another on-demand passenger transport service provider, but retain the booking and communication with the passenger (i.e. you remain "the face" of the booking), then you must count this vehicle in your fee band when applying for authorisation.

It is important to understand the difference between these processes to ensure you choose the most appropriate fee band for your business when applying for ODBS authorisation. You must consider the maximum number of vehicles you are likely to dispatch work to over the year.

  What is not an on-demand booking service?

There are several types of passenger transport services that are not classified as on-demand passenger transport:

  • 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 passenger transport is the transport of passengers undertaken by a not-for-profit service whose purpose is to improve their community. For example, a bus transporting residents of an aged care facility.
  • Courtesy passenger transport is transport provided to a customer, where the transport is additional to the primary service provided. No profit is taken from the courtesy.

Businesses that only offer these types of transport services do not need to apply for an on-demand booking service (ODBS) authorisation.

Vehicles and drivers for tourism passenger transport and regular passenger transport businesses will still need to hold the relevant authorisations.

Vehicles used by businesses providing solely community passenger transport and courtesy passenger transport services are not required to hold a vehicle authorisation, but drivers may require an authorisation if they are driving for hire or reward.

There are also types of businesses that offer services that are relevant to a booking service which are not required to be authorised as an ODBS. These include:

  • hire a skipper services;
  • travel agents;
  • communications and technology services such as call centres who are contracted to take bookings on behalf of the ODBS; and
  • Businesses that offer administrative or ancillary services to an ODBS such as preparation of the Safety Management System.

  Setting up your own on-demand transport business

If you are considering setting up an on-demand transport business there are a few things to consider to make sure you’re ready.

Getting started

  • You will need an Australian Business Number (ABN) to apply for an ODBS authorisation.
  • You will need a business name or logo to meet vehicle signage and sticker requirements.
  • Sign up for a DoTDirect account that properly reflects your business structure.
  • If you’re a sole operator, you can use your individual DoTDirect account. However, if you want other people to have access to your business dealings in DoTDirect (such as a business partner) then you should apply for an organisation account.
  • Research what equipment your vehicle will require, where to get it made and how much it will cost. This may include equipment such as:
    • roof light;
    • roof sign;
    • mountings or a phone cradle; and
    • ODBS signage and stickers.
  • If you’re driving a taxi, your vehicle must have a camera surveillance unit that meets the Camera Surveillance Unit (CSU) Standards 2020 and Taxi plates.
  • Consider how you will fulfil your safety, record keeping and complaints handling obligations, and what tools or resources you will need.

Required authorisations

To set up an on-demand transport business, you will need:

Read the On-demand Booking Services: Setting up your own on-demand transport business fact sheet for more information.

Page last updated: Thu Jul 27 2023 9:51:19 AM