If your Bus Driver Authority has been cancelled, then chances are you’re also banned from driving Uber.
Lots of professional drivers hold multiple accreditations. This lets them switch between driving buses, taxis or Uber.
What many drivers don’t realise is that a problem with one of their accreditations could mean issues for the others. This is a problem that a number of Uber drivers have encountered recently.
These Uber drivers also held Bus Driver Authorities under the Passenger Transport Act. At some point, Transport for NSW decided that they were no longer eligible to hold the Authority. There are many reasons why this might happen, for example the driver may have too many traffic infringements. Whatever the reason, Transport for NSW issued a letter to the driver advising them that their Bus Driver Authority is cancelled (or that their application is refused if they were trying to renew the Authority).
The first thought that many drivers have upon hearing they can no longer work as a bus driver is “thank goodness I can still drive for Uber.” Unfortunately, in most cases this assumption is incorrect.
Eligibility to drive Uber is automatically withdrawn
Driving for Uber is regulated by the Point to Point Transport (Taxi and Hire Vehicles) Act. This law sets out the eligibility rules to drive a hire vehicle (which includes Uber). You must not drive a hire vehicle unless you meet the eligibility criteria.
The cancellation or refusal of your Bus Driver Authority is one of the things that can make you ineligible to drive a hire vehicle.
The law says that you must not drive a hire vehicle if:
1. The last Bus Driver Authority you held was cancelled (except on medical grounds); or
2. Your last application for a Bus Driver Authority within the last 10 years was refused because you were not “fit and proper” or of “good repute”.
The difficult thing about this situation is that often drivers don’t receive official notification that they are no longer eligible to drive hire vehicles. Eligibility to drive a hire vehicle works differently to Bus Driver Authorities. It’s not something that you need to submit an application for, which is reviewed and then an authority issued if you pass muster. Instead, it’s all automatic. If you meet the criteria then you can drive, if you don’t then you need to stop driving immediately.
This means that if you are notified that your Bus Driver Authority is cancelled, the law expects you to know that this automatically makes you ineligible to drive Uber. In reality, most people don’t know this (quite understandably!). Usually the first time a driver realises there’s an issue with their Uber eligibility is when a red flag appears on the DVD (Driver Vehicle Dashboard). Sometimes by the time this happens it may be too late.
How to save your Uber eligibility
To save your eligibility to drive for Uber we need to fix the problem with the Bus Driver Authority.
This can feel like a backwards approach. Many drivers I have helped tell me “I don’t care about the Bus Driver Authority, I just want to keep my Uber licence.” However, the problem is that because the Uber ineligibility is automatic, there’s no way to directly appeal against it.
Instead, what we need to do is make you eligible again. The way to do this is to get the Bus Driver Authority reinstated.
There are two main ways to get the Bus Driver Authority reinstated:
1. Request an internal review – this is where a more senior employee of Transport for NSW reconsiders the decision to cancel your Authority or refuse your application. The driver is allowed to provide more information and the senior employee can overturn the decision if they think it was wrong.
2. Appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Appeal Tribunal (NCAT) – you can appeal against the decision to NCAT. This is similar to taking your case to court. The tribunal will listen to Transport for NSW’s reasons and also your side of the story. They will then decide whether you should be reissued with your Bus Driver Authority.
If you are successful in having your Bus Driver Authority reinstated, then you will be eligible to drive Uber again.
If you are thinking about disputing the cancellation of your Bus Driver Authority, then you need to act fast. There are strict time limits to make your applications.
It’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer before deciding which is the best option for you to contest Transport for NSW’s decision to refuse or cancel your Authority as there are risks and benefits to each.Our team at Ainsley Law are always happy to give a free assessment of your case and the best option for you. Call us today.