Department of State GrowthTransport

Using Taxis in Tasmania

 

Catching a taxi

You can catch a taxi:

  • from a taxi rank
  • by hailing or waving down a taxi passing in the street
  • by phoning a taxi company
  • in some taxis, by phoning a taxi driver directly.

If you're hailing a taxi, you should do this in a safe place on the side of the road. Don't try to get into a taxi when it's stopped at an intersection or at traffic lights. If the taxi is available for hire and it's safe to pick you up, it will pull over.

Do I have to take the first taxi on the rank?

No, you can take any taxi from a taxi rank. A taxi driver cannot tell you to take the first taxi.

However, at some busy ranks, such as at an airport, it's recommended that you do take the first taxi to reduce waiting times.

Can a taxi driver refuse to take me?

If you want to hire a taxi from a rank the driver must take you, unless:

  • the driver has a good reason to think that you won't pay the fare (including if you refuse to pay a deposit that the driver has asked for)
  • the driver reasonably believes that you're a threat to their safety or the safe operation of the taxi
  • the taxi can't safely carry you or something you have with you.

Can I tell the driver which route to take?

Yes. The driver must take the route that you want to travel by, as long as it is legal and safe.

If you don't tell the driver which way you want to go, the driver must take the most direct route to your destination.

 

Taxis and disability

Does a taxi driver have to take my Guide Dog?

Yes. Taxi drivers must carry Guide Dogs and other assistance animals that are travelling with passengers.

Assistance animals usually travel at their owner's feet.

These animals must meet the legal definition of an 'assistance animal'. In some unusual cases, a driver may be allowed to refuse to take an animal. If you aren't sure, you're advised to check with the organisation that provided your animal and with the taxi company ahead of time.

Can I hire a wheelchair accessible taxi if I don't use a wheelchair?

Yes. If a wheelchair accessible taxi is available for hire, you can hire it, even if you don't have a disability.

 

Taxi fares

When should the meter be switched on?

The driver is only allowed to switch on the meter when the taxi starts to move.

The driver must switch the meter off once the taxi has stopped at your destination.

How do I know that the fare is correct?

A taximeter is programmed to calculate the correct fare for the taxi that it's installed in.

All taximeters are tested by an authorised meter adjuster to make sure that they are correct. The meter is then sealed with a lead seal, which shows that the meter is accurate. You should be able to see this seal on the taximeter.

Does the driver have to use the taximeter?

Yes. Taxi drivers must always switch the meter on when the taxi is hired.

You can agree on a fare other than the metered fare before the trip starts. However, the driver still has to have the meter running.

At the end of the trip, if the fare you agreed with the driver is higher than the fare on the meter, the driver must not charge you the higher fare. They can only charge what is on the meter. You can pay more if you want to, but the driver must not insist that you do.

Can the driver request a deposit?

Yes. A taxi driver may ask you for a deposit, up to the likely fare for your trip. If you don't pay this deposit, the driver can refuse to take you.

Do I have to pay any other charges?

If your trip starts at either the Hobart or Launceston Airport, you will have to pay an airport surcharge.

If you soil a taxi (for example, if you are sick) you might have to pay a soiling fee of up to $70. This is for the cost of cleaning the taxi.

If you pay by a non-cash method, such as credit card or Cabcharge, the driver may charge you a surcharge of up to 10% of the fare.

 

Your safety and privacy

Taxis are inspected regularly to ensure they are safe. Taxis are inspected for road-worthiness every six months. Transport Inspectors also do random on-road inspections of taxis.

Taxi operators have to do basic safety checks on their taxis every day, as part of their accreditation program.

Do all taxis have security cameras?

All taxis in Hobart, Launceston, Burnie, Devonport, West Tamar, Perth and Ulverstone must have security cameras installed, to protect drivers and passengers.

Can I ask a driver to turn a security camera off?

No. The cameras must be operating all the time. Neither drivers nor passengers are allowed to turn them off or tamper with them.

How do I know a recording won't be misused?

Only people authorised by the Tasmanian Government who have the necessary licensed software are allowed to access recordings on taxi security cameras. Taxi drivers and operators can't access the images.

Heavy penalties apply to people who misuse security camera recordings.

What can I do if I leave something in a taxi?

You can contact the taxi company or the operator of the taxi you were in. The contact number should be displayed in the taxi.

A taxi operator has to take any unclaimed lost property to a police station within seven days.

 

Behaviour

When you are in a taxi, you must:

  • pay an upfront deposit, if the driver asks you
  • wear a seatbelt at all times
  • within reason, do anything that the driver asks you to do
  • pay the fare shown on the meter at the end of the trip, or any lower fare agreed before the trip started.

It is an offence to make off from a taxi without paying the fare, and you can be arrested for doing this. The maximum penalty for this offence is a $1,400 fine and/or imprisonment for up to 12 months.

As a passenger you must not:

  • smoke
  • drink alcohol or carry open containers of alcohol
  • do anything that puts the taxi, the driver or another person in danger
  • threaten, harass, intimidate or disturb the driver or another person
  • do anything to stop the driver from doing their job
  • damage the taxi or anything in it
  • behave in an offensive or indecent way
  • speak in a way that is obscene, offensive or blasphemous
  • throw anything in or from the taxi.

A taxi driver can ask you to get out of the taxi if you do any of these things.

 

Complaints

If a crime or a serious offence has taken place in a taxi, such as an assault (including sexual assault), stealing, or serious traffic offences (e.g. dangerous or negligent driving), you should contact Tasmania Police as soon as possible on 131 444 (or 000 in case of an emergency).

In the case of a serious licensing offence - for example, if you believe that a taxi driver is unlicensed or that an operator does not hold accreditation, or that a taxi is operating illegally - you should report this to:

Department of State Growth
Service Tasmania
Phone 1300 135 513

For less serious matters, it is recommended that in the first instance you contact the taxi company to try and resolve the problem.

All taxis must display a phone number that passengers can call if they have a complaint about the vehicle or the driver.

If you aren't satisfied with how the taxi company handles your complaint, what you can do will depend on what your complaint is about.

Customer service

Customer service complaints - such as rude staff, a service not turning up on time or an unhelpful driver - are not covered by any laws. These are the sorts of problems you might come across in any industry.

The Department of State Growth has no authority to investigate these types of complaints or to take any action against taxi operators or drivers. 

If you're not able to sort out the issue with the taxi company, State Growth recommends you treat this in the same way as poor service in any other industry. For example, you might decide not to use that company next time you need a taxi.

Regulation breaches

This could include things like:

  • overcharging
  • being taken by the incorrect route
  • being refused a hiring from a taxi rank
  • an unroadworthy or unsafe vehicle
  • an assistance animal being refused transport
  • being told you have to take the first taxi on the rank
  • being told you can't travel in a wheelchair accessible taxi unless you have a disability.

If you can't resolve this type of issue with the taxi company, you can refer your complaint to Service Tasmania.

You will need to provide details of the incident, including the date, time and place it happened and as much detail about the taxi and driver as possible.

Discrimination

If you believe you've been discriminated against - for example, if a taxi driver refused to take you because of your appearance or because you use a wheelchair - you could make a complaint to:

Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner
Phone 1300 305 062 (within Tasmania)
(03) 6165 7515 (outside Tasmania)
Web www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au

Australian Human Rights Commission
Phone 1300 656 419
Web www.humanrights.gov.au

You don't have to make a complaint to the taxi company before you contact a third party, but sometimes problems can be sorted out with the taxi company without needing to get them investigated.

 

More information

You can get more information on taxis from:

Web www.transport.tas.gov.au/passenger/taxi

Email info@stategrowth.tas.gov.au