Suitability & Eligibility Requirements for obtaining your Rideshare Licence for Queensland
What licence do I need to work in the rideshare industry?
Individuals looking to work as drivers in the transport and rideshare industry (such as Taxis, Uber, Lyft, Ola, Didi, Bolt, and GoCatch, etc) are required to hold;
- A current Australian open drivers licence or alternatively a restricted drivers licence issued under section 87 of the TORUM; and
- A “Passenger Transport Driver Authorisation” from the Department of Transport and Main Roads (“TMR”).
A Passenger Transport Driver Authorisation (known simply as a “Driver Authorisation”) is an approval that forms part of a regulatory system by which the TMR decides who is suitable to be a driver for the transport of public passengers. In deciding who is suitable, the TMR will have regard to the safety of the public, especially children and other vulnerable members of the community.
Passenger Transport Driver Authorisations: Types of Driver Authorisations
From 1 September 2018, there are 3 types of Driver Authorisations, as set out on the TMR’s website:
- Booked Hire/Taxi driver authorisation, which authorises the holder to drive a vehicle being used to provide any kind of public passenger service for which driver authorisation is required. Required by drivers of taxi and booked hire services (including services provided under a limousine licence). Holders of Booked Hire/Taxi driver authorisation are automatically authorised to provide services under General DA.
- General driver authorisation, which authorises the holder to drive a vehicle being used to provide any public passenger service other than a booked hire service or a taxi service.
- Restricted driver authorisation, issued by community or courtesy transport operator to provide community or courtesy transport services for the operator.
Criminal History Checks
Applicants applying for a Driver Authorisation must declare all criminal history, regardless of the time lapsed since the offending. Failing to disclose your criminal history, may result in an applicant receiving a letter to explain the omission. Applicants who receive such a letter should always obtain advice from a lawyer to ensure that the applicant’s application is not rejected on the basis that the application was in any way dishonest or misleading.
Criminal history checks are performed for applicants, and the TMR continues to monitor the criminal histories of all Driver Authorisation holders. A person who has been convicted or charged with a driver disqualifying offence may be refused a Driver Authorisation or have their Driver Authorisation amended, suspended or cancelled.
In February 2022, the TMR updated the list of disqualifying offences under the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act 1994 (TOPTA). Under the TOPTA, several offences are prescribed as ‘driver disqualifying offences’.
- A person convicted of a category A driver disqualifying offence, is ineligible to apply for or hold DA and cannot apply for a review.
- If an applicant or existing DA holder is convicted of a category B driver disqualifying offence, TMR must give the person written notice of its intention to refuse to grant or renew, or to cancel the DA unless the person demonstrates to TMR by written representations that an exceptional case exists.
- If an applicant or existing DA holder is convicted of a category C driver disqualifying offence, TMR will assess the suitability of the person to hold DA. When conducting this assessment, TMR will consider the seriousness of offences, the number of offences, penalties imposed and time elapsed.
Anyone who is charged with or convicted of a criminal offence should obtain legal advice on:
- how that conviction (or anticipated conviction) might affect their continued eligibility or suitability to hold a Driver Authorisation;
- if possible, a strategy in the criminal matter which may minimise or eliminate the risk of the Driver Authorisation being suspended or cancelled; and
- where possible, obtain assistance in drafting a response letter to the TMR (see our article on responding to a “Show Cause Letter”).
Traffic Infringements and Driving History
Similarly, a person’s traffic infringement history can also affect their eligibility and suitability to obtain, or continue to hold, a Driver Authorisation.
- If a person has a drink driving offence, TMR will consider the time elapsed since the offence and other relevant matters. For high range drink driving, drink driving in public passenger vehicles, or for multiple offences in the last 5 years, waiting periods of up to 2 years may apply from the end of the cancellation period for that person’s drivers licence.
- Where a person has been charged and convicted with driving under the influence of drugs, a waiting period of up to two years may be applied.
- Where a person has been charged with driving while relevant drug is present, the offence will attract the same waiting period as if they had a blood alcohol content level under 0.15%, and a waiting period of up to one year may be applied.
- Where the person’s driver licence has been cancelled by a court, other than under the demerit points system, a waiting period of up to two years may be applied dependent upon the circumstances leading to the cancellation.
- Generally, if a person has an extensive driving history, the TMR can consider a broad range of factors to assess whether it is in the public interest to cancel a person’s Driver Authorisation. These broad considerations include, but are not limited to:
- The severity of the offences;
- The frequency of the offences; and
- Whether offences occurred in a public passenger vehicle.
What to do if You Receive a Letter from the TMR about your Driver Authorisation
If an applicant or an existing Driver Authorisation holder receives a letter from the TMR, they should immediately contact lawyers to obtain advice on their options.
In most cases, a show cause letter is provided which gives the applicant or Driver Authorisation holder an opportunity to respond to the TMR’s concerns and to provide submissions on why they are still a fit and proper person to hold a Driver Authorisation. This should only be done with the assistance of lawyers where possible, since the consequence of a person’s Driver Authorisation being cancelled are serious (loss of income and livelihood).
Occasionally, in circumstances where the offending is serious, a person’s Driver Authorisation may be suspended or cancelled immediately. In those cases, legal advice should be obtained immediately on your appeal rights and whether you have reasonable prospects of succeeding. In some cases, internal review mechanisms exist which can make an appeal much more affordable. In other cases, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) is the only mode of review.
As the rules and regulations regarding Driver Authorisations are constantly evolving, this article is meant to be a general guide and should not be relied upon. Instead, anyone who requires legal advice on Driver Authorisations should seek independent legal advice.
Potts Lawyers is experienced at assisting clients obtain and retain their Driver Authorisations. Contact Potts Lawyers today to ascertain your eligibility for a free consultation.