New hire car regulations to apply in country NSW
Transport for NSW today announced new regulations will apply to hire cars operating in country NSW, providing clarity on what constitutes a pre-booked hire car service and taxis.
The changes relate only to hire car services that operate outside the Metropolitan, Newcastle and Wollongong transport districts and outside the Gosford and Wyong Local Government Areas.
The regulations will prevent hire cars acting as taxis or having livery, signage and lights that make them appear to be a taxi.
“Regional taxi operators have raised concerns that there is a growing disregard by some hire car operators of aspects of the legal requirements covering hire cars,” a Transport for NSW spokesperson said.
“This has included instances of hire cars providing services more like a taxi service including accepting hirings that have not been pre-booked.”
Under the changes hire car operators will be prohibited from accepting bookings less than 30 minutes in advance of the time the service is required. This will make clear what constitutes a ‘pre-booking’.
The operator or driver of a hire car service will also be required to keep records in relation to its hiring, including the time and date on which the booking for the hiring was made, who made the booking and the time and date on which the hiring occurred.
Additional regulations prohibit displays within or outside the vehicle that advertise their hire car service.
“A private hire vehicle mustn’t advertise that they can be hailed or booked for a job in less than 30 minutes, on the internet or in any other form of media or using text messaging,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.
“Approximately 200 hire car operators will be affected by the changes which includes a sunset clause after 12 months so that any changes to the regulatory regime recommended by the taskforce into the regulation of point to point transport can be considered.”
“Industry associations such as the NSW Hire Car Association, the Motor Traders’ Association and the NSW Taxi Council were consulted as part of the process,” the TfNSW spokesperson said.
There are exceptions to the 30 minute pre-booking rule for areas where there is no licensed taxi service, as well as in the case of a medical emergency.
The new regulations commence on 21 August.