Department of State GrowthTransport

Industry Information

Taxi licences

All taxis operate under the authority of a taxi licence.

A taxi licence may be held or owned by the person who operates the taxi service (the taxi operator). Some licences may be owned by someone who leases the licence to a taxi operator. In Tasmania, especially in the larger areas, the majority of licences are leased by operators from licence owners.

Licences can be purchased from the Government under an annual release program, or can be purchased from an existing licence holder. In larger taxi areas, the cost of the licence (lease or purchase) is a major part of the operating cost of a taxi service.

There is no limit on the number of licences a person can hold.

Taxi operators

The taxi operator is responsible for operating the taxi service. He or she may drive the taxi themselves, and/or may engage 'bailee' drivers.

All taxi operators must hold accreditation issued by the State Government. Accreditation requires an operator to have systems in place to ensure the safe operation of the taxi service and to make sure that someone is accountable for that service.

Taxi operators are responsible for maintaining the vehicles and for the operating expenses of their business such as fuel, registration and insurance. 

Taxi drivers

A person must hold an ancillary certificate before they can drive a taxi. To get an ancillary certificate a person must show that they are a 'fit and proper' person to drive a taxi, and must pass the taxi driver training course.

An ancillary certificate to drive a taxi does not authorise a person to operate a taxi service (that is, have legal responsibility for managing a taxi business), unless he or she also holds operator accreditation.

It is an offence to drive a taxi, hire vehicle or any other public passenger vehicle (such as a public bus), without an ancillary certificate. 

Bailment

Taxi drivers who don't operate their own taxi service are usually bailee drivers. These drivers are self-employed, although they are treated as employees for worker's compensation purposes.

Taxi drivers are small business operators and must be registered for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

A bailment agreement allows an operator to hire his or her taxi to a bailee driver for an agreed period on agreed conditions. The bailment agreement provides for fares collected by the driver to be shared, usually on a 50/50 basis, with the operator. The Government does not regulate these agreements.

Dispatch services

Taxi dispatch services (also known as taxi networks or radio rooms) coordinate taxis so that passengers can call a single phone number to book a taxi. In larger areas the dispatch service may have a national '13' phone number rather than a local number.

When a passenger phones for a taxi, the dispatch service alerts drivers to the job. Drivers can allocate themselves to the nearest available job.

Dispatch services don't employ taxi drivers and they don't have the authority to require a driver to take a particular job. Because drivers are self-employed, they are responsible for deciding which work they will take from the dispatch service.

Operators pay a fee to the network in return for access to the booking and dispatch service and the use of the network's signs on the taxi.

Taxi operators in Tasmania don't have to belong to a dispatch service. There are a number of independent operators who don't use these services.

Luxury hire cars and restricted hire vehicles

Luxury hire cars must operate under the authority of a luxury hire car licence. Restricted hire vehicles must operate under the authority of a restricted hire vehicle licence. 

Luxury hire car licences can be bought from the Government or from someone who wants to sell their licence. Restricted hire vehicle licences can only be bought from the Government.

Hire vehicles can only do pre-booked work, and there are further restrictions on the type of work that restricted hire vehicles can do. For example, most of them can only be used for special occasions such as weddings and school formals and leavers functions, or for doing tours. In most cases, hire vehicles can?t stand for hire on a public street and they can?t be hailed in the street.

There is no limit on the number of hire vehicle licences available.

These licences can only be held by the person who operates the service. Operators must be accredited to operate their service, in the same way as taxi operators must be accredited.

Drivers must hold an ancillary certificate, but don't have to do a formal training course. The operator usually provides training. Pay and conditions are agreed between the operator and the driver.

Where does my taxi fare go?

There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the ownership, management and driving arrangements of the taxi.

There could be up to 4 different parties involved (directly or indirectly) in providing a taxi service:

1. The taxi driver

2. The accredited operator of the taxi service

3. The owner of the taxi licence

4. The taxi company or network to which the taxi is affiliated (as indicated by the signage on the taxi).

Particularly in Hobart and Launceston, it is likely that all 4 parties will be involved. They all have a claim on the money earned by the taxi.

In this arrangement, the fares initially go to the operator, who pays the driver a percentage of the income as agreed between the driver and the operator. This is normally 50 per cent, although some operators pay different amounts.

Out of the remaining 50 per cent, the operator must pay the cost of leasing the licence to the owner of the licence, membership fees to the taxi network and all of the costs associated with operating the taxi.

In other cases, especially in the smaller taxi areas, one person may fulfil all of the roles (1) to (3). That is, that person owns the licence, he or she is the accredited operator and he or she drives the taxi for all or some of the shifts. 

In this situation, all of the fare goes to the operator. He or she uses this money to cover the costs of operating the taxi service, including purchase costs for the taxi licence (if applicable), network membership fees (if they are a member), vehicle maintenance and repair, fuel, insurance, registration and so on. 

If the operator has engaged a driver to cover some shifts, he or she pays the agreed percentage of the fare collected during those shifts to the driver.

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TAXI AREA CODES

The following table shows the taxi area represented by the two or three letters on a taxi licence plate.

Prefix

Taxi Area

BW

Burnie

BWA

Burnie (wheelchair accessible)

BO

Break O Day

BI

Bruny Island

CTH

Central Highlands

CH

Circular Head

DV

Devonport

DVA

Devonport (wheelchair accessible)

DO

Dorset

FI

Flinders Island

GT

George Town

GSN

Glamorgan/Spring Bay North

GSS

Glamorgan/Spring Bay South

HB

Hobart

HBA

Hobart (wheelchair accessible)

HV

Huon Valley

HVA

Huon Valley (wheelchair accessible)

KI

King Island

LN

Launceston

LNA

Launceston (wheelchair accessible)

MV

Meander Valley

NN

New Norfolk

PE

Penguin

PT

Perth

TS

Tasman

UL

Ulverstone

WC

West Coast

WT

West Tamar