Assistance animals in personalised transport

Assistance or service animals are specially trained to perform specific physical tasks and behaviours to assist a person with a disability and reduce their need for support.

Personalised transport drivers have a legal obligation to accept passengers travelling with:

  • assistance animals
  • or
  • assistance animals in training.

Refusal to do so will incur a $3,096 fine under section 234 of the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Regulation 2018.

Allergies, fear of dogs, and religious beliefs are unacceptable reasons for refusing to take an assistance animal.

Types of assistance animals

There are many types in Queensland, with most falling into the following categories:

  • guide dogs
  • hearing assistance dogs
  • physical assistance animals
  • psychiatric assistance animals
  • developmental/intellectual disability assistance animals
  • medical alert dogs—other assistance animals who are trained to assist people with disabilities such as epilepsy, dementia and diabetes.

How to interact with an assistance animal

When travelling with an assistance animal, you must:

  • not pat, feed or otherwise distract the dog
  • not treat the animal like a pet—it is a working animal
  • talk to the handler, not the assistance animal
  • let the owner choose where they want to sit with the assistance animal in the vehicle—most times the animal will be in the footwell of the vehicle between their feet
  • ask the passenger if they need assistance, including opening the door for the assistance animal to climb in and out of the vehicle first.

Watch videos from Guide Dogs Australia of 13cabs drivers discussing their experiences:

How to identify an assistance animal

Personalised transport drivers must take an assistance animal whether the animal is wearing identification or not.

You can respectfully ask the passenger for identification for the assistance animal if:

  • the animal doesn't have a certified 'Guide, hearing assistance dogs' badge, generally located on the animal's vest, harness, or collar
  • or
  • any other obvious identification is not visible.

Note: Assistance animals travelling from outside of Queensland may have different identifying features.