New level playing field for personalised transport

Published Thursday, 11 August, 2016 at 12:45 PM

Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

The Palaszczuk Government will overhaul the regulation of Queensland’s personalised transport industry to drive more competition and choice for consumers, and put downward pressure on fares.

Minister for Transport Stirling Hinchliffe announced the landmark reforms today in response to the independent Opportunities for Personalised Transport Review and said the changes would put taxi, limousine and ride-booking services on a more even playing field.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to ensuring Queenslanders have access to safe, reliable and affordable personalised transport services and these changes will drive competition, deliver cheaper fares and pave the way for more transport options for Queenslanders,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“These new reforms unveiled today are about fairness and will ensure the future sustainability of the personalised transport industry while encouraging more innovation which will benefit our economy.

“Emerging technologies are shaping customer expectations in the personalised transport industry which is why we need to transition to a new regulatory framework that will make the entire industry more agile, sustainable and competitive.

“The Government’s response to the recommendations of the independent Opportunities for Personalised Transport report will deliver innovation and improved customer service standards while significantly reducing red tape and costs for the existing industry.

“Queenslanders will benefit from improved services, reduced waiting times and more competitive fares, becauseindustry players are able to compete equally with each other.

“Most importantly these changes to transport services will support more flexibility in the industry to ensure it is geared up to meet the state’s changing transport needs.”

Under the changes from 5 September 2016: 

  • Ride-booking services will be legal for drivers holding a valid driver authorisation and safety inspected vehicle
  • Taxis will continue to have exclusive access to rank and hail and the Government will provide $5.6 million to incentivise wheelchair accessible taxis to ensure personalised transport remains accessible for all Queenslanders
  • 80 regulations will be cut, and the taxi and limousine industry will benefit from $4.3 million in waived fees over the next 12 months
  • Consumers will have more choice and benefit from consistent safety standards, fare estimates and itemised receipts on request, and more affordable travel
  • The Queensland Government will establish a $100 million industry adjustment assistance package to help taxi and limousine licence holders adjust to more competition and take advantage of new opportunities – without a fare levy

Minister Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government’s Queensland’s Personalised Transport Horizon was a five-year strategic plan for the industry to ensure it remains safe, sustainable and competitive into the future.

“These changes will deliver certainty and take the regulatory pressure off industry, ensuring all entrants can compete in the market,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Under the changes, set to be rolled out next month, taxi and limousine operators would have less red-tape with 80 regulations cut, rank and hail markets would be protected, and there will be an industry adjustment assistance package for the industry.

“We are also removing the maximum age limit for taxis which will help industry and we’re waiving annual renewal fees for 12 months.

“Unlike other jurisdictions, the Palaszczuk Government will not be delivering adjustment and reform by applying a tax on personalised transport.”

Key elements of the $100 million industry adjustment assistance package include: 

  • $60 million via a one-off payment of up to $40,000 for existing taxi service licence holders ($20,000 per licence, capped at two licences) and $10,000 per licence for existing limousine service licence holders.
  • $26.7 million hardship fund
  • $4.3 million in waived fees
  • $5.6 million to incentivise wheelchair accessible taxis
  • $3.75 million for business advisory help

There will be a period of adjustment for the whole industry as the changes are introduced in stages from Monday, September 5 and many annual taxi and limousine fees will be waived for one year while changes take effect and ride-booking operators will have a grace period until 1 November to comply with new measures.

Mr Hinchliffe said the reforms would deliver huge economic benefits for the state.

“According to PwC economic analysis, these changes will deliver a net economic benefit estimated at $474.1 million across the state,” he said.

“Our Government is committed to innovation and these reforms will put Queensland ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to enabling the shared economy and unlocking economic opportunity.

“Legalising ride-booking will open up the market and create opportunities for new and existing participants to respond to market changes which will ultimately drive competition.

“More competition will encourage new and innovative service offerings, ultimately growing the market for personalised transport across the state, and supporting our economy.”

Minister Hinchliffe also announced he will write to the Motor Accident Insurance Commission requesting they review Compulstory Third Party insurance classes for both booked hire services (including ride-booking and limousines) and taxis. 

Changes to regulation will be implemented effective 5 September and the Queensland Government will introduce further legislative changes under stage two of the reforms next year.

To read Queensland’s Personalised Transport Horizon, view fact sheets, register your interest in receiving further updates about industry assistance, or learn more about the upcoming changes, visit:

The Opportunities for Personalised Transport Review White Paper is available online:

Media contact: Jessica Hill 0475 950 772

Background on key stages for changes to Queensland’s personalised transport industry

New framework implemented (from 5 September 2016):

  • ride-booking services can operate legally without a licence
  • taxis retain exclusive access to rank and hail services
  • ride-booking vehicles must be signed
  • all drivers hold the same category of driver authorisation, a new category called BHTX (Booked Hire Taxi) will be created
  • all drivers of personalised transport must wear seatbelts at all times
  • fines for soliciting and touting will be doubled from $243 to $487
  • maximum taxi age limits removed and limousines can continue to operate beyond age limits
  • maximum fares for booked hire services (except Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS) and wheelchair services) removed
  • itemised receipts must be provided if requested by customer
  • 12-monthly vehicle inspections for all personalised transport vehicles
  • taxis maintain exclusive TSS service
  • wheelchair accessible incentive payment  of up to $20 per TSS trip (paid by the State Government)
  • fare estimate for booked hire must be provided or price agreed up-front

Legislative changes (commencing 2017):

  • electronic payment surcharges capped at five per cent
  • annual licence for all booked hire services introduced, limousine and special purpose limousine licences removed, no new perpetual taxi licences issued
    operator accreditation no longer required for booked hire services
  • a new compulsory third-party insurance category introduced
  • opportunities for all providers of booked hire services to provide TSS services
  • new security camera requirements investigated