Taxi licences in NSW

The NSW Government recently announced its intention to make changes to taxi licensing arrangements. The Minister for Transport and Roads and the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads have committed to closely consulting key taxi stakeholders to set up an appropriate industry assistance scheme.

Taxi licence owners should seek their own financial and legal advice on whether they should sell their taxi licence, or whether they should buy a taxi licence.

What are taxi licences?

All taxis must be licensed in NSW to provide a taxi service. A taxi licence gives a person (an individual, partnership or body corporate) the right to register and use a motor vehicle as a taxi.

A taxi licence (other than a Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) licence) can be obtained through an annual tender conducted by the Commissioner or, in some circumstances, can be obtained from an existing taxi licence holder.

Holders of taxi licences must comply with their safety duties. The holder must ensure that the taxi operates within the safety standards of the law and the Safety Management System set out by their authorised service provider.

Financial penalties of up to $110,000 apply for people offering a taxi service without a licence. For subsequent breaches, a further financial penalty of up to $110,000 applies in addition to 12 months imprisonment or both.

A taxi licence does not confer on any person an exclusive right to use a taxi in the area of operation specified in the licence.

Who is the holder of a taxi licence?

Under the Point to Point Transport (Taxi and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016, a holder of a taxi licence means the person with the right to use that licence to provide the taxi service. This might be:

  • the person the licence was issued to or last transferred to (whose name appears on the licence)
  • the person who leases or sub-leases the licence 
  • the person who has the benefit of the licence through some other arrangement.

Holders of taxi licences have obligations relating to the safety standards for vehicles used as taxis. Information about these safety standards can be found on the Safety Standards for Taxis page and in the Safety Standards for Taxis fact sheet. 

How do I apply for a taxi licence?

Taxi licences are currently issued via a tender process. For information on current and historical tenders, view the Taxi licence tenders page.

Types of taxi licences

There are currently four types of licences:

  • Taxi licence (Annual) including WAT licences. Issued under the Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016 or Passenger Transport Act 1990;
  • Ordinary taxi licence (including WAT licence). Issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990 or earlier Acts;
  • Short-term licence. Issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990;
  • Nexus and Paired taxi licence. Issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990.

Only taxi licences (renewed annually) are issued under the Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Act 2016.  These fall into three categories:

  • Metropolitan taxi licence
  • Non-metropolitan taxi licence
  • Wheelchair accessible taxi licence.

Taxi licences issued under the Passenger Transport Act 1990 (or before) continue under the current Point to Point Transport legislation, with the same conditions that applied to them under the previous legislation. This means:

  • Ordinary licences which have no specified term remain in force and may be transferred, unless they are cancelled;
  • Ordinary licences which have a term (for example 50 years) may be renewed or transferred, unless they are cancelled;
  • Short term licences will expire at the end of their term, unless they are cancelled beforehand;
  • Annual licences will be able to be renewed a maximum of nine times. So, if an annual licence was issued in 2010, it may be renewed until 2019 (and it would expire in 2020), unless it is cancelled.