Taxis are booked through authorised networks via telephone, the internet and taxi booking apps.
Under the law, only organisations which have been authorised by the NSW Government as 'networks' are legally allowed to accept and dispatch bookings for taxis. To become a network, a person/organisation must satisfy the NSW Government that they:
- Are of good repute, financially competent, and are fit and proper to operate a taxi network - which means no offences under Corporations Law and no criminal record.
- Have the technical competence to operate a network and have a licence to operate a radio network, proven certification that the equipment is capable of the task, details of regular maintenance, monitoring emergency alarms, how individual vehicles can be tracked and details of security systems provided for the protection of drivers and passengers.
- Have the managerial competence to operate the network and provide training programs on customer relations, communications equipment, safety devices and vehicle tracking, as well as a means to investigate complaints and if required take disciplinary action.
Networks must ensure work is dispatched to an authorised driver with a taxi licence in a vehicle which has met the inspection standards to be classified and registered as a taxi. Data on all bookings and completed work must be provided to the NSW Government - this data is used to monitor the effectiveness of the Industry against performance standards. Networks must provide services such as lost property.
Having a network as the centrepiece for taxi bookings is critical to the safety of passengers and drivers. Networks often liaise with law enforcement to provide detailed information about journeys, vehicle locations or CCTV footage.
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of taxi booking apps which operate outside the regulated environment of a taxi network. Technology is of great benefit to passengers and drivers, but there is a danger if it is used to by-pass the regulations which provide for safety, security and accountability.
For this reason, NSW Crime Stoppers approved booking apps of authorised networks in Sydney in 2013. There is concern that by booking 'off the radar' there is no record of the journey, no information for police investigating crimes, no ability to investigate passenger complaints or take action against drivers, and no ability to provide data on service standards.
Download Taxi Booking Apps Fact Sheet.