Following an extensive review and consultation, government has introduced changes to the regulation of taxi, hire car and ridesharing services to provide more opportunities for all drivers, as well as stronger safety mechanisms, better competition and choice for customers. The NSW Government has recognised the existing laws increased the costs of delivering services and limited opportunities for innovation. As a result, more than 50 pieces of regulation will be removed to create a more level playing field.
Read more about the reforms
Ridesharing drivers can now operate legally in NSW, provided they get a hire car driver authorisation and have a business registration for their car. In addition, drivers need to undergo medical and criminal checks. Companies will be free to set their own fares, but the government will continue to set maximum fares for taxis hailed on the street. We’ve also made sure that wheelchair-accessible services remain available.
Government recognises that these changes will have a significant financial impact on taxi licence owners. An assistance package has been introduced to help owners adjust, including hardship support and a licence buy-back scheme.
These changes apply to all current and new rideshare drivers who provide booked services through a rideshare app. A new Point to Point Transport Commission is being established to manage compliance with these new reforms.
Since government announced the legalisation of ridesharing, the industry is growing and is subject to even greater competition. Ride and car sharing services have expanded into regional areas and Uber and the taxi industry is now competing with other businesses including GoCar, GoBuggy, My Country Taxi, Liftango and Rydhero.
Government gets into Ridesharing
On 4 March 2016, the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation became the first NSW Government agency to include ridesharing as a transport option for its employees.
DFSI employees who are required to travel for work will now be able to choose the most suitable and best value option from amongst taxis, ridesharing and public transport.
Seniors Card partners with Uber
In April 2016, Seniors Card announced a new partnership with Uber that will provide members with a discount on using the service, as well as the opportunity to become a driver.
In announcing the partnership Minister for Ageing, the Hon John Ajaka MLC, said:
"We know that seniors in NSW are incredibly active with many relying on public transport to help them get around. This alliance will provide an affordable and reliable transport option, as well as raising awareness of the opportunity for them to become driver partners with Uber and re-enter the workforce on a schedule that suits them."
Read more about the initiative, including how to use the service or become a provider.
Compulsory Third Party insurance
All NSW drivers must have compulsory third party (CTP) insurance to protect drivers for personal injuries caused during an accident. The cost of insurance varies depending on the use of the vehicle, with taxis and hire cars paying significantly more than private use vehicles.
Since the legalisation of ridesharing, the government has been reviewing the NSW CTP Scheme to ensure the industry is fair for all point to point transport providers.
Under the new premium arrangements, taxi and rideshare vehicle owners will pay a base premium, plus an additional variable component based on their vehicle usage. This dynamic pricing system will be based on data gathered via the use of in-vehicle technology. The government’s insurance body has already been provided with the power to collect necessary data from point to point transport providers to assist in setting usage-based premiums.
For more information, visit the State Insurance Regulatory Authority
Timebanking is an online system where members can exchange volunteer services that the local community needs. It is an innovative way to encourage community participation, acknowledge local strengths, and recognise people’s contributions to their community.
There are 72 active Timebanking communities providing a local access point for the population in NSW. Timebanking in NSW is the largest single system of its kind in the world. Since Timebanking was launched in November 2012, more than 27,000 hours of support have been exchanged. To date this community program has seen over 6,500 members earn credits when donating their time, and then use these credits to receive support from another volunteer.
Timebanking is most active in smaller communities where participants already know one another, or are introduced by someone they know. Opportunities exist not just for individuals to participate, but also for community-based organisations, schools, councils and local businesses to become involved. More than 500 organisations have already joined as members.
Neighbourhood and community centres are the largest group of participating organisations. They produce some of the most successful engagement by linking local people to Timebanking services.
Timebanking is proving to be a unique mutual aid system that strengthens communities through social inclusion and civic engagement, while providing support to people who need it most.
The enhancement and growth of Timebanking is a major initiative of government's NSW Volunteering Strategy 2016 – 2020. Through refinement and further innovation, Timebanking has grown and redefined volunteering and what it means to be a volunteer. It has broadened the scope of volunteering within NSW and forged healthier, happier and more productive individuals and communities.
Dorothy and Fiona’s stories
Dorothy is a retired librarian in the Blue Mountains. She is an active volunteer at a local op shop, but struggles to maintain her garden and manage the ironing.
When she signed up to her local Timebanking community, she was able to bank her hours volunteering in the op shop and exchange them for help with the ironing provided by Fiona, a local Timebanking member and part-time nurse.
Dorothy says “The program works miracles; you can get these basic things done which you're unable to do yourself while doing the type of volunteering you enjoy.
"Volunteers can set their own hours and do what they love, whether it's gardening or teaching someone to play the piano."
Fiona registered with Timebanking because she was new to the Blue Mountains and wanted to make friends. She has found the social interaction is another benefit of the program.
"It's the genuine sharing economy, where people simply help other people," she said.
Fiona is using her banked hours to arrange help with home maintenance, with one member doing repairs and another weeding her back garden.
Through the Volunteering Strategy, Timebanking will continue to expand participation in community life and develop new volunteering options.
Find out more at NSW Volunteering and www.timebanking.com.au