Major reform of the taxi industry reached an important milestone today, with the introduction of the Taxi Driver Licensing Bill into State Parliament.
Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the Bill included the Taxi Driver Penalty Point system (TDPP), which targeted the minority of taxi drivers who breached regulations.
The Bill is the next step in the Liberal National Government’s Taxi Action Plan, which aims to improve safety, standards and restore confidence in the taxi industry in Western Australia.
Mr Buswell said the TDPP was a major part of the reform package and would be used to remove recalcitrant drivers from the taxi industry.
The Minister said the penalty system would be similar to the motor vehicle driver’s licence system where taxi drivers would accrue penalty points for a breach of a number of prescribed offences - most of which related to taxi regulations.
Some offences include:
refusing a fare without good cause
unlawfully terminating a fare
refusing to carry an assistance dog
failing to take a passenger on the most economical route.
“When the number of points exceeds a certain threshold their licence to operate as a taxi driver will be suspended or cancelled,” he said.
“Currently, the State Government has limited means of removing taxi drivers who, while not committing criminal or serious misconduct, repeatedly breach the taxi regulations.
“This new Bill allows taxi drivers who persistently fail to provide honest, courteous service to their customers to be managed out of the industry.
“When I was appointed Minister for Transport, the strongest message I received from taxi drivers was that they wanted a system where the ‘bad apple’ drivers could be removed from the industry. This Bill will ensure that can happen.”
Mr Buswell said the State Government would work with the industry to finalise details of the penalty point system, including the number of penalty points for each offence and the length of disqualification periods.
“This Bill will bring about major reform of the industry by developing a strong framework for the regulation and licensing standards of WA’s 10,000 taxi drivers,” the Minister said.
Other features of the Bill include:
formal legal recognition of the Taxi Driver Code of Conduct
stronger powers to define driver entry standards; training and testing regimes; and the power to specify the remedial driver training to follow disqualification.
“While I believe there are only a small number of taxi drivers who are below a standard that is acceptable to the public, this system will help to improve behaviour and enhance security for passengers and support the vast majority of hard-working taxi drivers,” Mr Buswell said.
For more information, visit http://www.transport.wa.gov.au
The Taxi Action Plan was launched in 2011 to enhance the security, standards and availability of Perth taxis
The Taxi Action Plan is a suite of projects designed to enhance security for drivers and customers, increase taxi availability especially in peak times, and lift standards
New taxi drivers and experienced drivers who re-enter the industry following disqualification will be subject to a lower penalty point threshold as a form of probation
The average taxi driver in Perth completes around 2,000 trips a year
Minister’s office - 6552 6400